It took just 14 laps for a typical Daytona crash to erupt on Sunday as more than a dozen cars were swept into a huge pileup in the Daytona 500.
The Daytona crash occurred on Lap 14 when Kyle Busch appeared to get into the rear of Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Christopher Bell at the front of the field. Bell then hit Aric Almirola, turning him into the wall. Almirola then hit pole-sitter Alex Bowman, igniting the Daytona crash. Almirola and Bowman both crashed hard nose-first into the outside wall.
The Daytona crash took out several top contenders, including Almirola, Bell, Bowman, William Byron, Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr., and Ryan Blaney. Others involved in the 16-car crash include Chris Buescher, Kurt Busch, Matt DiBenedetto, Tyler Reddick, Erik Jones, David Ragan and Daniel Suarez.
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"Unbelievable," Fox TV analyst Clint Bowyer said on the Fox broadcast. "Crushing blow to so many teams and efforts who put in so much work for the Daytona 500. That's a lot of heavy hitters."
Shortly after the big Daytona crash, the Daytona 500 was red-flagged for rain and lightning in the area.
Top contenders taken out in Daytona crash
Bowman started on the pole, while Almirola started third after winning one of the Daytona Duel qualifying races. Byron won the other Duel but had to drop to the rear of the field after being in a wreck in the second qualifying race. Bell and Newman also started near the front of the field and were considered to be contenders in the Daytona 500.
Newman was swept into a major crash one year after suffering a horrifying, life-threatening impact in the 2020 Daytona 500. Newman spoke about the accident on Fox before taking the green flag Sunday, saying he was luck to be alive.
The Daytona crash was the second big one to occur during Speedweeks. Byron and others were taken out in a pileup during the Daytona Duel qualifying races, forcing several teams to go to backup cars and start at the rear of the Daytona 500.