DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Denny Hamlin staked his claim as the favorite to win Sunday’s Daytona 500 after capturing the second Budweiser Duel 150 Thursday, in addition to last Saturday’s triumph in the Sprint Unlimited.
But Hamlin’s win was overshadowed by a spectacular multi-car wreck on the final lap of the 60-lap race, one that featured Clint Bowyer’s car doing a complete 360-degree roll in the air and landing upright on its tires, as well as Jimmie Johnson’s car catching fire after impact.
To add even more to Bowyer’s roll, somehow he still managed to finish 10th in the Duel.
The wreck was triggered when Johnson began slowing, having run out of gas, and was clipped by Jamie McMurray.
“I feel terrible to tear up that many race cars,” Johnson said. “I want to apologize to everyone. I knew I was going to get run over.”
Others involved in the mishap (video below) were two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip and David Ragan. Fortunately, no drivers were injured.
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Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull stands a “decent chance” of signing off from the 2017 Formula 1 season with a victory in next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
After a slow start to the year, Red Bull made massive gains across the course of the season by developing its RB13 to end the season as front-runners, rivaling Mercedes and Ferrari for pace.
The Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi has a number of slow-speed sections that should suit the RB13 car, with Ricciardo optimistic about his chances of not only ending his podium drought at the track, but even winning the race.
“Yas Marina has actually been one of my favorite tracks over the years,” Ricciardo said in Red Bull’s pre-race preview.
“It’s been a bit like Suzuka for me though, a track that I’ve always enjoyed and gone well on but not quite reached the podium at. I broke that trend in Suzuka this year so hopefully I can do the same in Abu Dhabi.
“When you have so much time away from the car in the off season it helps to sign off with a strong result as it makes you feel like you really deserve a break.
“I think we should have a strong car in Abu Dhabi. I said I want another win before the season is out and I think we have a decent chance of achieving that.”
Red Bull has claimed three race wins through 2017, with Ricciardo’s victory in Azerbaijan being followed up by successes for teammate Max Verstappen in Malaysia and Mexico.