Monday, July 6, 2015

Dale Jr. Wins at Daytona, Austin Dillon Walks Away from Scary Crash

Originally written for CLNS Radio. 

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won a wet and wild Coke Zero 400 from the Daytona International Speedway early Monday morning.

Earnhardt had the strongest car all race, leading 96 of 161 laps and pulling away on every restart late in the race.  Earnhardt said it was a testament to the motors and cars that Hendrick Motorsports builds.

“All the guys back at the shop, they put together such good cars,” Earnhardt said.  “This car is the one we won Talladega with.  It’s going to get retired one of these days, hopefully we get to keep using it.”

Earnhardt’s win, however, was overshadowed by a scary last-lap accident once the cars had passed the finish line.  Denny Hamlin turned sideways and made contact with Austin Dillon.  Dillon’s car was sent airborne, tearing down the catchfence before landing on its roof.
The remains of Dillon's car. (Photo courtesy FOX Sports)

Dillon’s engine came to rest in the middle of the frontstretch grass, while his car came to rest at the end of pit road.  13 fans were examined following the race in the area where debris from Dillon’s car flew, with four fans treated on site and another taken to a local hospital in stable condition.

Earnhardt, who lost his father at Daytona in 2001, said he was thankful that Dillon was able to walk away from the crash.

“That scared the hell out of me, I’ll be honest with you.  I saw the whole thing happen…that was terrifying to watch.  You know a wreck like that’s got the potential for someone to get injured…I’m just so thankful that all of the drivers are okay.”

Dillon, who was treated and released from the infield care center, said he had a bruised tailbone and bruised forearm.

“It’s part of this racing,” Dillon said.  “Everyone is pushing as hard as they can…it’s just a wad.  Ice up and go to Kentucky.”

Unofficial results:

1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Kurt Busch
6. Jeff Gordon
7. Austin Dillon
8. Ryan Newman
9. Trevor Bayne
10. Clint Bowyer
11. Casey Mears
12. David Ragan
13. Landon Cassill
14. Tony Stewart
15. Jamie McMurray
16. Paul Menard
17. Kyle Busch
18. Justin Allgaier
19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
20. Greg Biffle
21. AJ Allmendinger
22. Joey Logano
23. Matt Kenseth
24. Alex Bowman
25. Cole Whitt
26. Matt DiBenedetto
27. Brett Moffitt
28. Brendan Gaughan
29. Brad Keselowski
30. Sam Hornish Jr.
31. Josh Wise
32. Kasey Kahne
33. J.J. Yeley
34. Aric Almirola
35. Danica Patrick
36. Jeb Burton
37. Michael Annett
38. Martin Truex Jr.
39. Kyle Larson
40. David Gilliland
41. Carl Edwards
42. Brian Scott
43. Bobby Labonte

Photo courtesy Robert Laberge

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