Dillon survives NASCAR crash at Daytona

Dale Earnhardt Jr won the Coke Zero 400 on Monday, but his victory was marred by a horrifying crash that sent Austin Dillon’s car flying ...

Dale Earnhardt Jr won the Coke Zero 400 on Monday, but his victory was marred by a horrifying crash that sent Austin Dillon’s car flying into the catchfence that separated the track from the fans at the Daytona International Speedway.

After Sam Hornish Jr had spun through the grass, bringing up the final caution, the race was set for a green-white-checker finish. A cluster of cars jockeyed behind Earnhardt Jr, who had dominated the entire race. Denny Hamlin then appeared to push back into Kevin Harvick, who then backed into Dillon, who then goes airborne and gets thrown across the racetrack into the catchfence. When the car landed on the ground, it was then hit again by Brad Keselowski as the track erupted into confusion as drivers tried to avoid the multi-car pileup.

Crew members raced out to the wreckage that remained of Dillon’s car, and after seconds of trepidation, gave the thumbs up to indicate that the driver was miraculously alive. After Dillon was extricated, he could walk away unaided and even gestured to the crowd to show he was alright.



The portion of the catchfence that was hit was torn and debris from the collision had flown into the spectators. 13 fans were examined: eight declined treatments, four were treated at the infield care centre, and one was transported to the hospital and was released after treatment. Dillon had a bruised arm and tailbone.

After receiving treatment at the care centre, Dillon told reporters: "We've got to figure out something. Our speeds are too high, I think. I think everybody could get good racing with slower speeds. We can work at that, and then figure out a way to keep the cars on the ground.”

Dillon recalled the terrifying moments of the crash: "It was very vicious. It's twisting you around in there, and the belts are loosening with each hit, so the hits are getting more and more violent. By the fourth hit, you've separated enough so that the fourth one is going to hurt more than others. I held on to the steering wheel as hard as I could. I'm sure I'm going to find more bumps and bruises during the week, but right now I feel all right."

Earnhardt Jr was subdued in victory lane. His father, Dale Earnhardt Sr, was killed on the same track in 2001, also driving the number 3 car, Dillon’s number. Earnhardt Jr said, “I (am) more thankful that everyone is OK than standing here in victory lane at the moment."

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