DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Several crashes have marred the running of the Daytona 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, the most notable of those taking out race leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. just past the halfway point of the 200-lap race.
Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Erik Jones were on the end of the lead lap, just in front of Earnhardt, on lap 105 when Busch spun as a result of a flat right-rear tire and collected Kenseth, Jones, Earnhardt and Ty Dillon. As a result, Busch and Earnhardt retired from the race.
At least 16 cars, including those of Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Chris Buescher, Danica Patrick, Denny Hamlin, Trevor Bayne and Kevin Harvick, were involved in a wreck on lap 128 that was set off by contact between Johnson and Jamie McMurray that sent Johnson around.
Two more wrecks came in close succession, beginning when Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Trevor Bayne and Elliott Sadler spun and hit the inside retaining wall, trying to avoid Ryan Blaney, who had slowed to pit.
Upon the restart, 16 more cars piled up. With just over 50 laps remaining, only five cars lacked wreck damage -- the No. 3 of Austin Dillon, the No. 5 of Kasey Kahne, the No. 15 of Michael Waltrip, the No. 43 of Aric Almirola and the No. 47 of A.J. Allmendinger.