Daytona 500 leaves many injured


De’Asia Thomas, Reporter

The 62nd annual Daytona 500 was to take place on February 16, 2020, but had been postponed to start on Monday due to heavy rain. For the fifth year in a row, the race has been sold out. This year’s race had also been the first time the Daytona 500 ran on Monday since the entire race was moved back in 2012.

Sunday the race ended after just 20 laps when the rain rolled in. The start had also been delayed due to a shower during the pace laps. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had been leading all 20 laps of the three-stage race at first. The first two stages of the race are 65 laps each and the last stage is 70 laps.

Though Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was leading Sunday, he was not the one to win the race. Denny Hamlin ended up victorious. Hamlin was also the driver that won last year, while also winning the closest finish in Daytona 500 history. He beat Martin Truex Jr. to the checkered flag in 2016 by 0.01 seconds. 

Last year, Hamlin finished a car length ahead of Kyle Busch to win his second Daytona 500. The purse this year was the most American motorsports history at $23.6 million. It is not for sure how much Hamlin will receive from that, but looking at race winners in the past, the estimated amount is around $2 million.

When Hamlin and Blaney were racing to the finish on the last lap, Ryan Newman went flipping and crashing into the wall, after colliding with Blaney. Newman was taken out of his car and taken to nearby Halifax Medical Center right away. Later, NASCAR announced he was seriously hurt but his injuries were not life threatening.

That Monday was a rough day for a couple of the other drivers as well. Kyle Busch had to leave the race with 16 laps to go due to engine failure. On Lap 184 there was a crash that knocked Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., and about 19 other cars out of the race.

“It was fine until the end then there was the huge Newman wreck,” Toler said.

William Byron was knocked out of the race on Lap 58. Byron was bumped by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on the backstretch and went spinning into the fence.

Sophomores Olivia Toler and Jordan Speedy both watched the Daytona 500. Both thought the race was really good, though the wrecks were very scary especially the Newman wreck. 

“The last lap was really nerve racking, but really good,” Speedy said. “Denny Hamlin came out with a good finish.”