The bizarre ways of the most unusual Daytona 500 in history took an even more bizarre turn late in the race Monday night when the car driven by Juan Pablo Montoya spun on the racetrack track, hit a jet dryer and ignited both vehicles into a fiery explosion entering Turn 3 on Daytona International Speedway.
The Daytona 500 had not been raced on Monday until this year, when rain forced the first postponement of the race in its 54 years. The race was then delayed to a night start when rain delayed its schedule noon start.
The race had 43 laps left when the engine on David Stremme’s Toyota blew up and he spun out. The race was under caution when Montoya came off pit road after trying to determine why his car was vibrating. He was about to enter Turn 3 when something broke and he slid sideways down the track. He slid into a truck carrying a jet dryer that was slowly driving along the outside wall of the track.
The crash with Montoya’s car burst the jet fuel tank and fuel streamed down the racetrack, catching fire. Flames burned all the way across the track, halting the race after 160 laps of 200.
Montoya, who left his burning car, was not harmed. The driver of the jet dryer truck was transported to a local hospital for evaluation but was not seriously injured.
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