The action in Sunday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway was brought to a halt following a massive wreck with 23 laps remaining.
Several high-profile names, including leaders Denny Hamlin and Daniel Suarez, were taken out of the race as a result. The multi-car pileup in the middle of Turns 1 and 2 occurred as rain was falling on the track, which several drivers reported. NASCAR officials apparently didn’t notice the rain and the wreck ensued after cars lost traction. Shortly after the wreck, NASCAR issued the Red Flag and stopped the race at Daytona.
Austin Dillon made his way through the wreck without any damage. He is the leader and if the race is called, he will qualify for the playoffs on his first victory of the season.
Hamlin in particular, took a nasty hit into the wall. He was not happy NASCAR allowed the race at Daytona to continue and expressed his frustration afterwards.
“Better officiating,” Hamlin said, via Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports. “That’s all we can do.”
Hamlin commented on the hit he took and said his entire body is in pain.
“My jaw hurts,” Hamlin said. “I feel like my jaw was like one of those boxers because my whole face was demolished.”
Suarez, meanwhile, said that NASCAR should have never put its drivers in that position.
“I feel like they [NASCAR] have a lot of technology out there to know that it’s [rain] very very close,” Suarez said. “And if it’s very very close, I don’t think we should be put in that position.”
A View From the Spotter’s Stand on Big Wreck at Daytona
Joel Edmonds, Aric Almirola’s spotter, chimed in on Twitter of what he saw before the wreck at Daytona.
“It rained on the spotters stand from the time the pack came off of turn four until they all crashed,” Edmonds tweeted. “But we are outside on the roof not sitting inside in ac or under any sorta shelter. The storm was coming from turn 1 — I was screaming it was raining to my guy.”
Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, doesn’t feel they could have done anything differently. Miller appeared on the CNBC broadcast and said they were watching the weather closely and nothing had hit until then.