The 2019 Daytona 500 was marred by a huge crash involving 21 cars that occurred just 10 laps before the chequered flag.
The NASCAR carnage started shortly after Paul Menard nudged Matt DiBenedetto during a restart entering turn 3. DiBenedetto’s car was knocked out of position by the contact and spun around 180-degrees, facing the dozens of other cars behind it.
Cars proceeded to pile-up behind DiBenedetto before a huge portion of the field came to a rest on the side of the track. Fortunately, no one was injured, but many drivers had their hopes of winning The Great American Race dashed by Menard’s mistake.
“It was go time and I was pushing the 95 (DiBenedetto) and looked like he was trying to get to the middle,” Menard told Fox. “So I tried to get to the outside and just barely hooked him. I wrecked a lot of cars. That was my bad… I feel bad about that.”
Race officials were forced to red flag the race for 25 minutes as the damaged cars were removed from the circuit.
As for the race, it was won by Denny Hamlin, who held off the likes of Joey Logano and teammate Kyle Busch to claim his second Daytona 500 victory. Hamlin races for Joe Gibbs Racing and dedicated his win to J.D. Gibbs, the team’s former president and son of team owner Joe Gibbs who died in January following a four-year battle with a degenerative neurological disease.