Early-Race Wreck Wipes Out A Quarter Of NASCAR's Daytona 500 Lineup

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Photo: Brian Lawdermilk (Getty Images)

The Big One—that massive wreck that wipes out a good portion of the NASCAR field—is inevitable at a big track like Daytona International Speedway, but I don’t think anyone was expecting it to come so early or to wipe out so many cars. Yep—the Daytona 500's Big One came on lap 14 and knocked out about a quarter of the field: 16 cars.

It was a bit of a chain reaction going on at the front of the field. Kyle Busch pushed Christopher Bell up into Aric Almirola’s rear end. Almirola, sitting comfortably in the second row, lost control of his car and turned into the No. 48 of Alex Bowman. The two collided into the wall, and it was only a matter of time before they collected the rear end of the field like a destructive accordion.


While several drivers were able to escape the calamity, plenty of others ended up wrecked in the infield grass. The running list of drivers impacted was a big one:

  • Kurt Busch
  • Ryan Newman
  • Tyler Reddick
  • Aric Almirola
  • Ryan Blaney
  • Chris Buescher
  • Martin Truex Jr.
  • Christopher Bell
  • Matt DiBenedetto
  • William Byron
  • David Ragan
  • Anthony Alfredo
  • Erik Jones
  • Alex Bowman
  • Jamie McMurray
  • Daniel Suarez

Thankfully, everyone was able to exit the cars under their own power and were largely unharmed.


Just after the crash, the red flag flew for weather. Lightning struck and was soon followed by rain. It offered an opportunity for things to get cleaned up and sorted out.

The Big One is a feature of races like the Daytona 500, which is part of why this particular event sees so many unexpected first-time winners. Plenty of competitive drivers—ones folks had expected to take the overall win—were knocked out in the lap 14 crash and left opportunities open for a wild winner to take advantage of the carnage.