A 16-car wreck-fest has overshadowed the opening few laps of the Daytona 500, with the race currently suspended due to lightning strikes and inclement weather.
The incident occurred on lap 14 when Kyle Busch gave Christopher Bell a hefty bump. Bell’s loose Toyota then hit the rear of Aric Almirola who careened across the track and into on-coming traffic.
What ensued was a multi-car pileup, usually reserved for demolition derbies.
Alex Bowman, who had achieved pole position for the race earlier in the week, suffered terminal damage, as did other big-guns Ryan Blaney, David Ragan and Ryan Newman.
Ragan was understandably frustrated with the events.
“That is not where we wanted to be,” he said. “At the start of these 500-mile races, every driver says ‘I’m going to take it easy, to begin with, I’m going to feel my face car out, and I’m going to make it to the end and try to win the race’.
“I don’t know what happens, but when they drop the green flag, most guys lose their minds and start pushing, shoving and side drafting.”
While over 40 per cent of the field picked up some degree of damage, most cars have only recently been returned to the pitlane with a lightning strike causing officials to hold proceedings with their recovery.
The race remains suspended while circuit officials begin a drying process. At the same time, fans have scattered the stands in seek of shelter.