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The most bizarre Daytona 500 in the history of ever.

Bradley Brownell February 27, 2012 Motorsports 37 Comments

Sunday started in Daytona Beach with rain, and a lot of it.  The problem was that it never went away.  For the first time in the 54 year history of the event, it was rain delayed until the following day.  Initially the delay was set for Monday at noon eastern.  On Monday, it was decided that the race would be postponed again until 7pm eastern to be 100% outside of the rain, and conveniently placed smack-dab in the middle of prime time.  It’s a good thing, too, because it turned out to be one of the most interesting NASCAR events of all time.

Okay, so the race finally got started, and then it was back under caution again only just after the first lap was completed.  Jimmie Johnson spun and took last year’s winner Trevor Bayne, and Queen Danica, among others.  Getting back to green saw another fairly boring 160 laps.

Without trying to sound a bit too sensationalist, Juan Pablo Montoya caused the biggest explosion and resultant fire that I have ever seen in motorsport.  A bit of bad luck resulted in Montoya’s rear axle locking up at the most inopportune time.  You see, the track was under caution, and with a few minutes of down time, NASCAR sent the jet-dryers out on track to blow off a bit of the debris.  Juan had just left the pits and was on a tear to catch back up to the field when his differential, transmission, something locked up and spun him up the track and into the wall.  The issue fell in that there was one of those jet-dryers between Juan’s car and the wall he was aimed at.

Watch the resulting video if you haven’t already seen it!

As the cleanup ensued, it appeared almost certain that the race would be called, and Dave Blaney would be victorious.  Fortunately, the track did get cleared (in one of the best product placements Tide could have ever asked for), and the race was re-started to cover the final 100 miles.

Lap 188 led to yet another “big one” as Jamie McMurray cut a tire and spun taking four other cars with him, including Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, Eric Almirola, and Regan Smith.  Pole sitter Carl Edwards received light damage, but was able to continue.

With four laps to go, the yellow came out again, this time David Gilliland and Ricky Stenhouse had a “coming together” in which Stenhouse spun up into Tony Stewart.  At one point, Tony was completely backward at triple digit speed and managed to save the car with very little damage.  Sometimes skill goes hand in hand with luck!

In the end, it was a NASCAR signature Green-White-Checker finish and the #17 car of Matt Kenseth took the win after 37 hours of waiting.  It is now 1am, and I’m going to bed!



  • I understand the need in America to make racing more exciting, but the number of dangerous obstacles and lack of safety measures to protect drivers, pit crew, fans, and random people border on insane.

    • e46christopher

      I am not one to usually defend NASCAR (and I am not a fan of that style of racing, or the personalities involved), but I believe you are incorrect in your statement. NASCAR does do a lot to protect its fans and driver. It seems that the incident with Montoya was a freak accident and not the result of “dangerous obstacles and lack of safety measures.”

      • fodder650

        In fact let's look at what happened last night to show that NASCAR has done more then most race series. We will start with how JP Montoya walked away from that accident. His 42 was totaled in that accident and he just strolled away like nothing had happened. This speaks worlds about the state of the sport.

        Next up is the jet dryers driver who got help quickly. In this case one severely ballsy safety crew member walked into the face of what was going to be bad and got the driver out of the cab. He was released long before the race was over. Next up was the reaction of the crew. Which at first seemed slow to me. I mean where were the fire trucks. Then it hit me what had just happened.

        In a fuel spill of this type you can't throw water at the fire. Not unless you plan on throwing a LOT of water at it. This is a foam or chemical retardant fight. The went with the later here. There were at least 6 chemical extinguishers working on that fire. Which was what was needed there. The lost containment a few times but it did look like it was planned more then just mass chaos.

        Next up is the safer barriers. Over the week of racing we saw cars pinball off the barriers at insane speeds. Queen Danica included. She went into the barrier at over triple digit speeds and walked away.

        NASCAR isn't known for it's tech normally but it's safety record is pretty impressive. They have gone a long way to protect their drivers and fans. This weekend also showed us that a vehicle can hit the catch fences without hurting the audience for the second time.

        • BradleyBrownell

          Hear Hear, and a resounding Huzzah!

        • e46christopher

          Thank you. That is what I was trying to say. Also, consider Danica Patrick's violent crash earlier in the weekend. I couldn't believe anyone could walk away from that.

          • fodder650

            Yeah that crash she was in was really nasty. She had a bad week though. Being the 100% focus of attention and not being able to actually race

    • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      Who are the people down voting things for disagreeing? I down vote SPAM and vile comments. Recently I saw someone down vote a comment because (I have to guess here) there was a photo of a Ford Mustang and who ever did it must have liked Corvettes more or something. See what's happening here with the nice discussion now? That's what comments like this do and it's overall beneficial. People like me can learn things about safety in this case.

      • Irishzombieman

        Umm, yeah. That's crap.

      • My guess would be that to some, it is like disagreeing, sans the long-winded(or short-winded) reply. I know that in the most cases, if I agree with a comment, or think that it is witty and/or humorous, I "thumbs up" it. I can only imagine that people may use the "thumbs down" for the opposite. If a comment is SPAM or trollish, I usually skip the thumbs down, and click the "report" link.

        • jeepjeff

          I took a mean pot-shot at the looks of the Scion xB the other day. It was trolling, but not egregiously so. I got a thumbs down (pretty sure it was by needthatcar, and yeah, I deserved it). So there is a place for the thumbs down, but it isn't far from the line for the 'report' button… Most of the time I give a thumbs up or do nothing.

          • Hey, we have all been that troll under the bridge. 🙂

            I too have been guilty of it in the past(but all for the best, as I actually ended up gaining a friend in the end of it all). I too usually either thumbs up, or just let sleeping dogs lay.

      • fodder650

        When I replied to the first comment it was at 0. Instead of downvoting him I decided to reply and try to start a conversation. Not sure why others didn't do that

        • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

          Goodness, there seems to be someone that takes this all to seriously, you are all now back at one now.

      • e46christopher

        I don't think it was only down voted just because people were simply disagreeing, or being petty, I think it was down voted because the Redusernab has higher expectations from the commenters. I know Maxichamp can do better than that. (And this is not an attack, just constructive criticism).

  • Van_Sarockin

    First God opened the heavens and sent rain, but you just waited. Then He sent fire, but you still didn't listen. Then He made metal eat metal on caution laps. This is why NASCAR can't have fuel injection. You'd all better listen up.

    Frankly, I'm wondering is NASCAR isn't more dangerous under yellow flag running.

  • B72

    I watched this for 20 minutes with roughly 60 laps to go. It looked like rush hour at 200 MPH.

  • I just amazed that someone took out a track/safety vehicle and an Andretti wasn't involved.

    Back in the 1990s CART had to introduce the "Andretti rule". This was a full course caution and standing double yellow flag anytime a safety vehicle was on track. Before this the procedure was a local caution. But both Mario and Michael managed to put their cars into the back of safety trucks, so they changed the rule.

    • JayP2112

      I expect NASCAR to have a similar rule- like a corner/local caution if safety cars are on track. If you've ever seen cars racing to catch up to the field after pitting, they're going 9/10's.

  • Ferrari is now considering running in NASCAR.
    <img src=";

    • The Professor

      I foresee cars burning to the ground while on the grid….

  • <img src="; width="500">

    • <img src="; />

  • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    This race was incredible! I watched the whole thing. My wife watched a lot f it too, at that point she says, "This is exciting. Right away that crash where the lady made it between those cars! See how good she is. Then the wheel comes off! Now this!" What's the over under on a Brad and story over at redacted? The sad thing is eventually my son had to go to sleep, but I recorded the end on the VCR for him and woke him-up for this fire. In the morning he told me he had already seen the end of the race on the web o_O Kids are geniuses in stuff like this. Can't wait for OLRF's post!

    • This olelongrooffan enjoyed the Daytona 500 from the comfort of my living room. I wasn't absolutely sure they were going to run it as we had rain off and on all day long. Not only that, I had experienced the track on Sunday…

      • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

        ARFF ha! It's the little things that always get me 🙂 And there is that no. 22 car again! Anyway I watched as well from home, finished-up in the comfort of bed even with dog keeping me warm, nice. Hey I called it, from the book of faces: redacted – 5888944/how--took-over-nascar Too bad we don't get to see any photos of yours from last night/this morning, oh well.

  • Z71

    "The 2012 Daytona 500 on FOX. A Michael Bay Production"

  • Charles_Barrett

    Fire! Wreckage! Carnage!
    "Oh…! The huge manatee…!"

    • The Professor

      Well, it is Florida…

      • Charles_Barrett

        Oh my goodness, so it is… I hadn't actually factored that subtlety into formulating my comment. My subconscious is sharper when I drink, apparently…

  • PotbellyJoe

    I tried to watch. I kept falling asleep. I understand it was exciting, but the constant stops/yellows was getting very old, very fast.

    • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      I think there were ten or eleven yellow flags and I think they counted the two before and after the red flag, which was the only time the race was stopped outright. There really were some nice stretches there after the first two laps before the fire. It seems that towards the end of NASCAR races you get wrecks just because the teams try to win and it's hard not to at those speeds and distances. Also there was a $200K purse for first at 100 laps. That was fun, like a heat race at the circle dirt track, and yeah there was a wreck leading-up to that too, but with like seven laps to go.

      The two lemons races I have been to have had about the same amount of yellows, and the red flags are even more annoying there, because at Joliet they tend to be because an ambulance or fire truck is needed for something other than the lemons race itself and they need to stop it until it gets freed-up again.

  • Joe_Btfsplk

    Let's go back to running convertibles on the sand and avoid all of these distractions in the future. Call it NASCAR Classic and compare the ratings. I'm seeing HUGE!

    • fodder650

      Speaking of ratings, NASCAR had a real win last night. My guess is that night time Daytona is about to become normal

  • Yikes! Be sure to check the CARFAX on any up and coming used jet-dryers that pop up for sale in the greater Daytona Beach area.

  • TurboBrick

    My favorite part was during the commercial break when Dale Jr., Brad Keselowski and three others are walking down the track, and the Daytona PD car pulls out of the gate in front of them with the lights on. All five of them spin around on their heels like on cue and start walking the exact opposite direction. "I didn't see a thing, officer!"

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