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2012-02-28 05:17

ROUND AND OUT: Danica Patrick (10) and multiple champion Jimmie Johnson (48) spin during a five-car pile-up on lap two of the much-delayed 2012 Nascar Daytona 500. Both had to retire. Image: AFP

Simon Evans

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida - Five-time Nascar champion Jimmie Johnson and debutant Danica Patrick were involved in a five-car crash on lap two of the Daytona 500 on Monday that ended their chances of glory early.

Rain forced the postponement of the race from Sunday until Monday and then for another seven hours as the bad weather continued. It eventually started under lights and  there was instant drama.


The accident happened when Elliott Sadler pushed into the back of Johnson who spun. The result was chaos in the still tightly packed field.

"I'm just really, really bummed to start the season this way," Johnson said. “For all the hard work that has gone into getting this car ready for tonight, we didn't get to complete two and a half miles of green-flag racing."

Patrick, only the third woman to start in the 'Great American Race', was caught in the backwash. She returned to her garage to try to repair the damage. It was her third crash of the week.

Last year's winner Trevor Bayne, Kurt Busch and David Ragan also went off the track.
"It is ridiculous to sit around this long for the Daytona and on the very first lap for someone to be driving as reckless as whoever caused that, someone had to cause it," Ragan said.

"It’just a shame for it to be that early in the biggest race... I can't wait to see who was the bonehead."

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