When the fog dropped on the Daytona 500 Monday night, engines were ready and drivers were off. For the first time in NASCAR history, the race had been postponed for an entire day because of rain. This was not destined to be a Sunday afternoon slosh-fest. Tracks were slick, fans were nervous, and anything was possible. That’s why viewers were shocked when a utility truck, used to blow water off the track, was struck from behind by an out-of-control Number 42 Chevy, driven by Juan Pablo Montoya. Apparently, Montoya’s car had a malfunction, making him lose control on turn 3. The Michigan International Speedway (MIS) truck burst into flames with just 40 laps left in the race.
Duane Barnes, who was driving the MIS truck, was rushed to the Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida, where he said his neck was sore, his foot was hurting, and his helmet was burnt to a crisp. Amazingly, caught in a flaming utility truck, Barnes came away from it all without more serious injury. Friends say that he’s ‘a tough dude’, so recovery should be quick.
While the race was delayed for more than 2 hours in order for rescue and clean up crews to do their work, the close of the race was one for the books. At 1:00am on Tuesday morning, the checkered flag gave a victory to Matt Kenseth, who also won the race in 2009.
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