Daytona NASCAR: Dale Earnhardt Jr wins, Austin Dillon in huge crash

Dale Earnhardt Jr claimed victory in a delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona that ended with a massive crash in which fans were injured

Daytona NASCAR: Dale Earnhardt Jr wins, Austin Dillon in huge crash

The accident occurred as the cars crossed the finish line, with Austin Dillon's Richard Childress Chevrolet launched into the catch-fencing and flipping over before landing back on track upside down with its front and rear ends ripped away.

Dillon walked away unscathed, but NASCAR said five fans in the grandstands were being treated for minor injuries having been hit by debris, with one taken to hospital. Another eight were examined by circuit medics but declined treatment.

The event had been scheduled to start on Sunday night at 7.45pm local time and was delayed by four hours due to constant rain before finally finishing in the early hours of Monday morning.

Earnhardt commanded the majority of the race, as he led 95 of the 160 laps to take his second victory of the season, the other having also come in a restrictor-plate race at Talladega in May.

He edged out Hendrick Motorsports team-mate Jimmie Johnson and Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin, while Kurt Busch and championship leader Kevin Harvick completed the top five for Stewart-Haas.

Earnhardt had controlled the race in the early stages, which included David Gilliland sparking a a multi-car pile-up as early as lap three in which Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano's Penske Ford sustained severe damage.

After Earnhardt and Johnson exchanged the lead continuously until halfway, Earnhardt tumbled down the order during the fifth caution of the race on lap 87 of 160, as a slow pitstop dropped him to 10th.

That allowed Johnson to assume the lead, but Earnhardt patiently made his way back through and was in front again within 16 laps.

The safety car was called minutes later as Matt Kenseth lost control of his car and hit Kyle Larson, causing both men to spin and trigger the race's second big crash.

Last year's July Daytona winner, Aric Almirola, was a victim of the incident as he suffered damage and was forced into retirement, along with Furniture Row's Martin Truex Jr.

Earnhardt made his final pitstop during that caution, and from there he kept his cool and led all the way to the finish, taking the flag clear of the chaos that enveloped many of those classified in the top 10.

RESULTS - 160 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 2h58m58.s
2 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 0.122s
3 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 0.124s
4 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 0.189s
5 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 0.227s
6 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 0.245s
7 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 0.317s
8 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 0.335s
9 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford 0.348s
10 Clint Bowyer Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota 0.371s
11 Casey Mears Germain Racing Chevrolet 0.393s
12 David Ragan Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota 0.409s
13 Landon Cassill Hillman Smith Motorsports Chevrolet 0.449s
14 Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 0.473s
15 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 0.476s
16 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 0.479s
17 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 0.523s
18 Justin Allgaier HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 0.555s
19 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 0.557s
20 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford 0.613s
21 A.J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 0.645s
22 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 0.722s
23 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 0.735s
24 Alex Bowman Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 0.752s
25 Cole Whitt Front Row Motorsports Ford 0.808s
26 Matt DiBenedetto BK Racing Toyota 0.849s
27 Brett Moffitt Front Row Motorsports Ford 0.875s
28 Brendan Gaughan Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 1.534s
29 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 2 Laps
30 Sam Hornish Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Ford Accident
31 Josh Wise Phil Parsons Racing Ford 7 Laps
32 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 12 Laps
33 J.J. Yeley BK Racing Toyota 22 Laps
34 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 24 Laps
35 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet Accident
36 Jeb Burton BK Racing Toyota 40 Laps
37 Michael Annett HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 51 Laps
38 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet Accident
39 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Accident
40 David Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford 65 Laps
41 Carl Edwards Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Accident
42 Brian Scott Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Accident
43 Bobby Labonte Go FAS Racing Ford Accident

LEADING CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Kevin Harvick 656
2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 593
3 Jimmie Johnson 589
4 Joey Logano 581
5 Martin Truex Jr. 569
6 Jamie McMurray 526
7 Brad Keselowski 520
8 Kurt Busch 508
9 Matt Kenseth 501
10 Jeff Gordon 500
11 Kasey Kahne 496
12 Denny Hamlin 480
13 Paul Menard 480
14 Ryan Newman 472
15 Clint Bowyer 465
16 Aric Almirola 441
17 Carl Edwards 408
18 Kyle Larson 395
19 Greg Biffle 392
20 Danica Patrick 386
21 Austin Dillon 379
22 Casey Mears 378
23 A.J. Allmendinger 352
24 David Ragan 336
25 Tony Stewart 331
26 Sam Hornish Jr. 321
27 Trevor Bayne 319
28 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 311
29 Justin Allgaier 286
30 Cole Whitt 280
31 David Gilliland 267
32 Brett Moffitt 233
33 Alex Bowman 228
34 Michael Annett 194
35 Josh Wise 185
36 Matt DiBenedetto 182
37 Kyle Busch 152
38 Michael McDowell 111
39 Jeb Burton 105
40 Alex Kennedy 67

PROVISIONALLY IN THE CHASE: Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Martin Truex Jr

* Kyle Busch needs to get into the top 30 in points to take up a Chase place, despite Sonoma win

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