Plenty of Daytona Fireworks
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on July 7, 2013 | 3:39 P.M. EST
Hamlin’s violent night wasn’t over as the Joe Gibbs Racing driver was also involved in another accident on lap 149, this time tangled up with Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth. (Photo: Getty Images)
It might be an easier task to count up the drivers that were not involved in some kind of altercation Saturday night at Daytona.
The Coke Zero 400 turned out to be wild affair that swept up a number of drivers in multi-car accidents and in turn impacted the Sprint Cup Series championship standings.
Race winner Jimmie Johnson found himself involved in one of the night’s incidents when he made contact with Marcos Ambrose racing down the backstretch, who in turn collided with Kasey Kahne. The impact sent Kahne sliding off track and into the inside retaining wall destroying his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
"I got slammed and shot to the left," Kahne said. "It's kind of how these races go. You don't have a lot of control over what happens."
Johnson didn’t believe he touched Ambrose in the melee despite what video replays seemed to show and the Richard Petty Motorsports driver had a differing opinion.
“Yeah, he moved down off the wall and ran into me and then I moved to try to get away from him a little bit and just pushed me straight into the 5,” said Ambrose.
The crashing started much earlier than the lap 155 accident that knocked out Kahne. Martin Truex Jr., Juan Pablo Montoya and Denny Hamlin for together on the 98th circuit. Truex Jr. was knocked out for the night and handed a 42nd place finish, dropping him from inside the top 10 of the point standings to 11th.
“I was coming up, off there nice and straight and it almost felt like a left rear tire blew out,” said Truex. “It was just instant, and I don’t know if it was air or what. It just instantly spun around, so we’ll have to look at the replay, I guess.
“The car was really good all night and it never showed any signs of being loose, and all of a sudden it just turned around. I’d have to think it was contact, but I can’t say for sure.”
Hamlin’s violent night wasn’t over as the Joe Gibbs Racing driver was also involved in another accident on lap 149, this time tangled up with Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth.
“I saw the side of the 11 (Hamlin) car get turned and I tried, I was already around the top, so I slowed down as much as I could and just got hit and was just kind of a ping pong ball,” Kenseth said. “So, I’m not sure what started it, or really what hit me and got it. I just saw the wreck and tried to slow down and miss it. But there’s just not much I could do.''
Kenseth finished 33rd with Gordon 34th and Hamlin 36th.