‘Big One’ occurs early at Daytona

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The field completed just 14 laps, before the “Big One” took out multiple cars in the Daytona 500.

Racing down the backstretch, Kyle Busch shoved Christopher Bell into the back of Aric Almirola. A second hit on the right-end of the bumper sent Almirola into the path of Alex Bowman. Both turned head-on into the outside wall and triggered a 16-car wreck in Turn 3 at Daytona International Speedway.

“Man, we were in a fine position, just sitting there riding around in the top two, three and (Bell) just came with a big run and hit me really hard in a bad spot and it turned me to the right and tore up our race car and ended our Daytona 500 way too early,” Almirola said.

Jamie McMurray finished the highest of the 16 cars involved in the wreck in eighth.

Seven cars just behind him and Bowman escaped without damage. Ryan Newman was a few feet from safety, but Daniel Suarez clipped his right-rear and sent him spinning and rear-ending the wall.

“I just feel bad for Kohler Generators jumping on board and getting wrecked out of the Daytona 500 so early, but unfortunately that’s part of racing,” Newman said. “I just wish we could have had some better results.”

Suarez collected Kurt Busch in the process, as he slid through the infield grass. He came out of the wreck with relatively little damage, but got trapped two laps down.

William Byron, who started from the rear after a wreck in Thursday’s Duel No. 2, snaked his way through, until Tyler Reddick clipped him and lifted his left-side off the ground. He continued on and finished 26th, nine laps down.

“It was a long day but I’m proud of my guys for being able to fix the car as well as they did so we could finish the race,” he said. “Those spots we picked up were important. It would have been nice to pick up a few more, but that’s just how things go.”

That’s 178 more laps than teammate Bowman completed, as he was among nine cars that retired from the race, due to the Lap 14 incident.

“Bummer – I hate it for Ally,” he said. “Obviously, we had a really fast Camaro.”

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