Three of the Worst Crashes in Daytona 500 History


NASCAR comes with plenty of risks, but it also comes with some of the most spectacular accidents seen in any sport, ever. We’re going to take a quick look at some of the worst crashes, and while they might sound bad, the drivers always come out nearly without a scratch at the end of the day thanks to the almost obsessive safety measures.

Richard Petty

Year: 1988

Richard Petty might have won seven championships across his career, but that doesn’t mean he’s completely invincible. At the 1988 Daytona 500, Petty managed to roll, creating what the announcer described as the most violent crash at the Daytona 500. Quite frankly, it’s surprising that he actually managed to walk away from this accident unharmed. As a point of interest, the car itself was preserved by the Owens estate until 2014 when it was sold at auction to an anonymous buyer. No word on how much was paid for it, or where the car is sitting now. It probably looks like a beautiful deformed aluminum can on someone’s showroom floor.

Ryan Newman

Year: 2003

During an apparent collision with another vehicle on the track, Ryan Newman went ‘airborne’, or as the announcers stated, he took off like an airplane. After striking the wall, he entered into a series of flips, tearing his car to shreds. As with most other wrecks, however, he walked away without a scratch and even waved to the crowd.

Tony Stewart

Year: 2001

You can blame Tony Stewart for knocking out nearly half of the drivers in 2001 as his car was batted around the track and ended up contorted in all manner of positions before catching on fire. When discussing the worst Daytona 500 crashes, this one is almost always brought up, and with good reason.

Dale Earnhardt

Year: 2001

This is one of the most notorious crashes in Daytona history and if you are a fan of NASCAR, then you know why. The Earnhardt name is synonymous with racing, which is the reason the community, and the world was so shaken with a head on collision with the wall that took Earnhardt Sr’s life. While this was a tragic incident, it is responsible for a number of mandatory safety improvements that have undoubtedly saved countless lives.

Danica Patrick

Year: 2016

She’s one of the biggest and most interesting names in NASCAR right now, but that doesn’t stop her from being involved in some of the greatest wrecks the sport has to offer. Driving her No. 10 Chevrolet in 2016, she managed to gain some serious air, and actually stayed airborne for several seconds.

NASCAR Crashes

Year: 1960

The Daytona 500 has been around for some time, but during its second year of operation, it saw the largest accident in history. A 37-car crash took out nearly the entire field, but no one was hurt, despite the lack of safety regulations at the time. The best part, is it was all caught on video. NASCAR has seen some pretty amazing wrecks over the years, the Daytona 500 especially. It’s hard to tell what it’s going to see next, but with safety regulations increasing every single year, you can bet that most drivers will walk away without a scratch.


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