The strangest Daytona 500 ever fittingly ended at just before 1 a.m. Tuesday morning.
After two rain delays postponed the start until 7 p.m. Monday night we got a two-hour fire delay — yes, fire delay — with 40 laps left thanks to a fiery crash between Juan Pablo Montoya and a jet dryer truck.
I have a confession to make. I’m from the Northeast, but I come from a family of racing fans and while I rarely watch on a regular basis anymore, I did every Sunday growing up. I’ve even been to more than a dozen Sprint Cup (though it was Winston Cup then) races in person.
Never have I seen a car run into a support truck.
And yet, everyone is talking about Juan Pablo Montoya losing control and slamming into the back of a jet dryer truck filled with fuel. Crashes, and fires, aren’t rare in racing, but this was truly unbelievable. Montoya’s transmission apparently broke, which is why he lost control. Thankfully, Montoya and the driver of the truck were both OK.
The video actually isn’t great … because no one was filming a jet dryer blowing debris off the track. But take a look at the second angle, from a distance, and you’ll see the size of the explosion. And get a look at Montoya’s burned out car — not much more than a roll cage — after sliding into the infield. Ask any driver and they will tell you they are much more afraid of fire than the end-over-end flipping crashes you often see make the highlights.
After the crew, sans one jet dryer, got the track cleaned up and re-sealed Matt Kenseth took the win in the Great American Race. He has his teammate Greg Biffle to thank for the win as he blocked Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the final lap. Junior finished second, while Biffle took third.
Oh, and by the way, Danica Patrick crashed on Lap 2 of her first ever Sprint Cup race and finished 38th.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne @MetroNYSports.