A horrific last-lap accident that left drivers fearing forAustin Dillon's safety muted Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s victory in the rain-delayed race at Daytona International Speedway.
Earnhardt crossed the finish line at 2:41 am Monday morning filled with dread after Dillon's car sailed upside down into the fence then shot back onto the track. The car was on its roof and mangled when it was hit hard by Brad Keselowski.
The car tore down a section of fencing, debris scattered into the grandstands, and crew members from several teams raced to check on Dillon.
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A stunned Earnhardt seemed speechless as he crossed the finish line.
"Oh My God. That looked awful," Earnhardt yelled into his radio. He followed with a string of expletives as he tried to comprehend the frightening accident.
Crew chief Greg Ives immediately radioed his team to not pull Dillon from the car.
"Whoever is in that window, if he's OK, do not touch him. Tell him to stay in there," Ives said.
Earnhardt continued to inquire about Dillon, who earned his first career win at Daytona in Friday night's Xfinity Series race and has been close with the Earnhardt family his entire life. The late Dale Earnhardt won 34 races at Daytona and Dillonwas present for many of them as he grew up watching The Intimidator drive for his grandfather, Richard Childress.
Earnhardt was killed in a 2001 crash on the final lap of the Daytona 500.
Dillon was seen and released in Daytona's infield care center and said he had a bruised arm and tailbone.