DAYTONA BEACH: Dale Earnhardt Jr won the rain-delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway, where Austin Dillon’s spectacular crash punctuated the finish in the early hours of Monday morning.
A last-lap multi-car wreck sent Dillon’s car flying. It flipped and struck the catch-fencing before coming to rest upside down — parts of the vehicle scattering across the track and infield.
Dillon was able to walk away, waving to fans as he did.
He had finished seventh in the race won by Earnhardt ahead of Jimmie Johnson, with Denny Hamlin third despite a late spin.
“That scared the hell out of me, to be honest,” Earnhardt said of Dillon’s airborne crash.
“That was terrifying to watch,” he said. “A wreck like that has such high potential for someone to get injured. You just wonder about everyone else in the grandstands. It was touch and go there for several moments.”
Broadcaster NBC reported that several fans in the stands were treated for minor injures, perhaps from flying debris.
Rain delayed the start of the race for more than three hours, with drivers finally starting their engines at 11:27 pm Sunday (0327 GMT Monday).
Earnhardt started from pole and led 97 of 161 laps en route to his second victory of the season in NASCAR’s premier series.