The roar of 43 stock cars was heard loud and clear, in and around the Daytona International Speedway throughout the week in Daytona, Florida. The race was won by Matt Kenseth in the number 17 Best Buy car, but before Matt could to put the pedal to the metal for his celebratory burnout on the track, he and his fellow racers would have to endure one of the most unusual races in Daytona 500 history.
This was a race plagued with problems from the start. For instance, this was the first race in its 51 year history (under the Daytona 500 name) that was postponed due to rain and run during a weekday. The race was scheduled for Sunday, February 26, 2012, but the rain never let up in Florida, so the race was rescheduled for Monday evening, and at times it was touch and go with the weather again, but the weather cooperated and the race started and ended with no further delays due to rain. But rain was not the only thing that delayed this race–read on!
On top of the day and a half of rain delays, it seemed as if you were watching a demolition derby, rather than an oval track race because of all the bumping, skidding and crashes in this race, it was unbelievable. The first crash came just 2 laps into the race.
Then under the yellow caution flag, Juan Pablo Montoya in the number 42 car, was traveling along the low side of the track when something on his car broke and it caused his car to slide sideways and right up into one of two jet dryers that was circling and drying or blowing debris off the track. The jet dryer exploded on impact flooding the track with 200 gallons of jet fuel and sending flames high into the air and down to the in-field. The race was red flagged, stopping all of the cars on the track, away from the incident. It took 2 hours to put out fire, check the track for damage, clean the track, dry the track and prep the surface so the race could continue. Both Juan Pablo Montoya and the driver of the Jet Dryer truck are fine.
During this 2 hour period, the drivers began to exit their cars and start chatting amongst themselves. At one point, a group of racers started walking up the track towards where the fire broke out, but a track official stopped them and asked them to return to their cars.
One of the drivers, Brad Keselowski (seen in the blue Miller Lite jumpsuit above), just happened to have his phone with him and started tweeting during the 2 hour delay. At the beginning of the race, he had roughly 65,000 followers, but during this 2 hour period, he tripled that number to nearly 200,000 followers.
This was one unusual race for sure!
Compilation video of the multitude of crashes during the race:
Juan Pablo Montoya Crashes into jet track dryer:
Danica Patrick Crashes Hard During Daytona Qualifier Race