Big one collects several top drivers at Daytona

Photo by Andrew Coppley/Harold Hinson Photography

By Jerry Jordan, Editor

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A Lap 89 crash involving 22 cars, more than half the field in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, began with Jamie McMurray getting sideways either because of something on the track or due to contact with the No. 48 car of Jimmie Johnson – neither driver was sure immediately following the on-track melee.

“It looked like the 48 got into my left rear quarter and it shot me down the track and I got into the 42,” McMurray said, as his crew worked to repair his battered racecar in the garage. “When we got together I guess it cut the left rear tire down because I didn’t have any control of the car. I got the car straight and I thought I was just going to lose my momentum but it just felt like I was on oil and I started spinning. Then the 48 ended up hooking me again and sending me up into the outside wall.”

Johnson said he wasn’t exactly sure what happened between the two drivers and he hadn’t really had a chance to review any replays.

I don’t really know (what happened), the 1 car was in the outside lane and I was in the middle and the 1 car came across my nose and went down and got into the 42 a little bit,” Johnson said, as he left the infield care center. “We were all straight and fine and they slowed up a little more than I could. My momentum kind of carried me into the back of the 1 and around we went.

“Just hard racing, the cars are definitely slipping and sliding a lot. This racetrack is aging and handling is becoming an issue so I am excited about that, I think it is going to put on a good race but one of those little slips into a big crash for everybody.”

As Johnson walked away, he spoke with McMurray about what his interpretation of what caused the crash and the two drivers could be seen using hand motions to indicate how their cars were handling and which areas of their cars may have made contact with the other.

“He wasn’t sure what got him out of shape,” Johnson said, when stopped a few minutes later in the garage near his hauler. “He felt like there was a nudge and he felt like it was me. I didn’t think it was me because I was riding in the middle but I have to look at the video and see if the responsibility falls on me or not.”

Other cars involved in the crash included those of Chase Elliott, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick, Brian Scott, Kevin Harvick, Chris Buescher, Regan Smith and Paul Menard among others.

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