DAYTONA BEACH, Fl. – For 185 laps, the 62nd Daytona 500 was quite business-like.
But then a handful of smash-ups delayed and then decided the great American race.
And fans and fellow drivers are hoping doesn’t end in another tragedy.
16 laps from the end, Joey Logano pushed Aric Almirola and started a chain reaction that took out 19 cars including Bass Pro Shops Martin Truex Junior, Austin Dillon and Jimmie Johnson.
A couple of more wrecks forced a second green, white, checkered finish.
In the sprint for the finish line, Ryan Newman had the lead, but Ryan Blaney’s bumper pushed Newman into the wall and sent his car spinning down the straightaway and catching fire.
He was taken to the hospital and has serious injuries but it’s not life-threatening.
In the confusion, Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag for his second straight and third Daytona 500.
But his joy was tempered for his concern about teammate Ryan Newman.
“I think we take for granted sometimes how safe the cars are,” Hamlin said. “But number one we’re praying for Ryan. I worked very well with Ryan through this whole race. And obviously he got turned right there.”