Ironically, Dale Earnhardt Sr. was killed at Daytona in 2001 just three laps short of the finish line.
His auto flipped upside down, crashed into a fence and back on the track.
Instead of taking a celebratory victory lap, Earnhardt slowed down to wait for news of Dillon as crew chief Greg Ives signaled his team to help assist Dillon, who emerged from the wreckage and raised both hands to acknowledge the fans. “I am shocked Austin Dillon is even alive (after) what he went through. I expected the worst”. Despite the violence of the impact, Dillon escaped with bruising. The others were treated at the track and went home. He did suffer a bruised tailbone and forearm, but Dillon got out of the wreck under his own power and waved to fans to signal he was ok. “I thought the wreck was over, and I was sliding on the roof. I don’t have a headache or anything like that, I’ll ice up and go get ready for Kentucky”.
“I’m really proud of the fact that the fence worked”, he said. Four were treated on-site. Eight of them declined treatment.
“We were unfortunate (for the crash) but fortunate in the fact that the Good Lord was looking at me and keeping me safe”, Dillon said.
“We’re going to learn from it and see what else we can do better”, Chitwood said. Austin Dillon won the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona on Saturday night.
“It’s just part of this racing”, Dillon said. “We’ve got to figure something out”. “But I’m also really excited about calling this race next February”. “That’s the next thing”. But the sight of Dillons vehicle going airborne and hitting the fence still had left him shaken.You think about the vehicle getting that high, what has it done and is there any danger to the spectators, Earnhardt said. I was at the vehicle when we lost the lives of several drivers in my career. I hope fans enjoy all that. Its terrible. Its an terrible feeling.Dillons crash happened as a pack of cars crossed the start-finish line behind Earnhardt and runner-up Jimmie Johnson. Earnhardt earned the top starting position since he was the fastest in Friday’s opening practice. Eleven cars were involved in a wreck that occurred on Lap 106. As soon as they got to the vehicle I felt pretty comfortable there, there was people around, that we were going to be okay. It appeared to start when Kevin Harvick pushed Denny Hamlin, lifting the rear of Hamlins vehicle off the ground. Jeff Gordon, in his final Sprint Cup race at Daytona, placed sixth. Ryan Newman, Trevor Bayne and Clint Bowyer completed the top-10.
Once the engines revved up, the race settled into the typical Daytona Drama: the occasional wrecks that picked off a handful of competitors each time, and the last-laps chaos that would once again include a green-white-checker finish.
And just as safety innovations were implemented in rodeo circles following Frost’s death, NASCAR is constantly making improvements inside of the cars and out.