The ‘Big One’ Takes Out Over Half the Field at Daytona

The “Big One” struck and collected over half the field just past halfway through last night’s race at the “World Center of Racing.”

A total of 22 cars suffered some degree of damage in the lap 91 wreck that started when Jamie McMurray made contact with Jimmie Johnson. This hooked McMurray’s car into the wall and triggered a chain-reaction that led to the mass of wrecked cars in turn 1.

Five cars – Paul Menard, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Brian Scott and Regan Smith piled into the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

Being shoved by Matt DiBenedetto, Kevin Harvick slammed into the rear of Scott and lifted the No. 44 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford off the ground.

Johnson’s battered No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet then turned down the track and collected Danica Patrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Chris Buescher and Ryan Newman piled into Johnson.

Kasey Kahne, trying to slow down, t-boned the side of Smith, was rear-ended by Michael Annett and collided with Harvick.

“I was in the middle and something happened to the No. 1 and he went to the right and then he chased it…and was in a slide and came back down in front of me, hit the No. 42 (Kyle Larson) door-to-door – kind of light contact,” said Johnson – who finished 35th – of the wreck from his point of view. “I thought we were fine, but I eventually turned him sideways and the whole thing happened. I don’t know what happened to the No. 1 to change lanes as fast as he did from the outside, but we are all dealing with a matter of inches and once that started, it just collected everybody.”

“Just a bunch of cars crashing – pretty much that was it,” said Kenseth – who finished 28th – on what he thought triggered the wreck. “I was just trying to make my way back toward the front a little bit there. We had a bad pit stop exchange and came out way, way behind everybody. Carl (Edwards) was up towards the front and we were running with him before the pit stop. I probably should have just hung in the back, hindsight, but who knows when they’re going to wreck, you never know if they’re going to wreck. Just trying to get back towards the front and there was a wreck somewhere a few rows up in front of me and just nowhere really to go.”

“I didn’t see a lot,” Scott – who finished 37th – said of the wreck that he was also caught up in. “I was on the outside and our lane seemed to get a good run entering turn 1 and I saw guys check-up and hands out the windows so I started checking up. Then the check-up kept going and it became an accordion effect. We were in the wall and jacked up and I guess the 4 came up under me and drove underneath my car and then I was up in the air. It was a pinball effect. It is an unfortunate end. You always seem to get those big ones here in the Fourth of July race. Sometimes there is nothing you can do. There was no chance to ever miss that for our 44 Ford.”

Biffle rebounded from the wreck and drove his Roush Fenway Racing Ford to an eighth-place finish.

“It was a rough night after we got in that wreck,” said Biffle. “We got shuffled out of line and that will happen with speedway racing. We were working our way back up and running with the No. 4 car (Harvick) and a few of those guys and somebody got turned right in the middle. I don’t know who. We got pretty severe damage and were able to come back and finish eighth.”

Despite finishing 39th, Harvick left Daytona still the points leader.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Tucker White
Tucker White
I've followed NASCAR for well over 20 years of my life, both as a fan and now as a member of the media. As of 2024, I'm on my ninth season as a traveling NASCAR beat writer. For all its flaws and dumb moments, NASCAR at its best produces some of the best action you'll ever see in the sport of auto racing. Case in point: Kyle Larson's threading the needle pass at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2021. On used-up tires, racing on a worn surface and an aero package that put his car on the razor's edge of control, Larson demonstrated why he's a generational talent. Those are the stories I want to capture and break down. In addition to NASCAR, I also follow IndyCar and Formula 1. As a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I'm a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan (especially in regards to Tennessee football). If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me, down the road, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a diehard fan of the Atlanta Braves, and I lived long enough to see them win a World Series for the first time since 1995 (when I was just a year old). I've also sworn my fan allegiance to the Nashville Predators, though that's not paid out as much as the Braves. Furthermore, as a massive sports dork, I follow the NFL on a weekly basis. Though it's more out of an obligation than genuine passion (for sports dorks, following the NFL is basically an unwritten rule). Outside of sports, I'm a major cinema buff and a weeb. My favorite film is "Blazing Saddles" and my favorite anime is "Black Lagoon."


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