DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wrecks just kept on coming in startlingly rapid fashion during Stage 3 of the Daytona 500 on Sunday.
Within a handful of laps before the final 80-lap segment that was to determine the race winner reached halfway, there were three more huge multi-car accidents on a day that was full of them after a quiet first 60-lap stage.
On the first one, Ryan Blaney used a hand signal out his driver’s-side door to indicate that he was slowing to pit. Elliott Sadler, who was right behind him, did the same.
But Jeffrey Earnhardt, who was behind them both, apparently did not get the memo and ran into the back of Sadler, setting off a chain reaction that also took out the cars being driven by Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Shortly thereafter, with 58 laps left in the race, Jamie McMurray made an aggressive move and clipped the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Chase Elliott – sending Elliott into the No. 95 of Michael McDowell and setting off a chain reaction that resulted in major damage for several cars, including top contender Brad Keselowski.
Keselowski’s No. 2 Team Penske Ford suffered a broken track bar, ending his day.
Just seven laps later, another incident occurred when Joey Gase appeared to get tapped from behind by Elliott, sending him into the No. 75 car driven by Brendan Gaughan.
The end result of all the mayhem: With 50 laps left in the Great American Race, only five cars were left that hadn’t suffered some kind of damage in the multiple wrecks that stacked up from Stage 2 and into Stage 3.
The drivers of those five cars were Austin Dillon, Kasey Kahne, Michael Waltrip, Aric Almirola and AJ Allmendinger.