The ‘Big One’ hit early in Sunday’s 60th annual running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.
Closing in on the end of Stage 1, major players in the race were taken out in a multi-car wreck on Lap 60.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. began to get loose, fishtailing toward the outside wall before saving his No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford. Drivers reacted behind him, however, and began wrecking. Jimmie Johnson, Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones all sustained significant damage.
Johnson, the seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, felt that the early stage aggression was a bit premature in the race.
“Unfortunately, many thought it was the black and white checkered flag and not the green and white checkered flag,” Johnson said after the incident. “On Lap 59 to be throwing blocks like that just…a lot of wrecked race cars.”
Suarez echoed similar thoughts on what happened regarding the early aggression of certain drivers.
“I was just trying to stay out of trouble either in the front or in the back and at that point we were at one lap to go to the end of the stage and 60 laps into the race and everyone was blocking very, very close,” Suarez said. “Everyone was being aggressive and it was a little bit too early and somebody turned my teammate the 20 (Erik Jones) and then he hit the 42 (Kyle Larson) and the 42 hit me and after that it was pretty much nothing I could do.”
William Byron, Kyle Larson, Trevor Bayne, Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. were also listed as being part of the nine-car incident on the backstretch, according to NASCAR timing and scoring.