Chaos erupted with 27 laps remaining in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series 2015 opener at Daytona International Speedway when a multi-car wreck in the tri-oval eliminated multiple drivers and sent Regan Smith’s No. 7 Chevrolet rolling over once before coming to rest on all four wheels.
The wreck, which began when a bump from Kyle Larson off Turn 4 sent rookie Daniel Suarez bobbling and then sliding down the track on a collision course with Smith and Chase Elliott, brought out the red flag with 93 laps on the board and Ryan Reed in the lead.
Smith, who earlier in the day was named Kurt Busch’s replacement driver for Sunday’s Daytona 500, was uninjured after his wild ride.
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"I’m fine," Smith said. "We had a fast car. I saw the 18 (Suarez) wrecking and then wrecking again, and then wrecking a third time, and there’s really nowhere I can go coming off the corner. He saved it, saved it and saved it. I do know he was two laps down, so it probably would have been cool for him to hang out in the back of the pack and let us race."
Elliott — Smith’s teammate and the reigning series champion — managed to continue on with some damage to his No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.
"It wasn’t that hard of a hit, but it was hard enough to tear it up pretty good," Elliott said from inside his car during the live FOX Sports 1 broadcast.
Getting at least a piece of the accident were 12 drivers: Suarez, Smith, Larson, Elliott, Ryan Sieg, Justin Marks, Brendan Gaughan, Chad Boat, John Wes Townley, Austin Dillon, Jeff Green and David Starr.
The official time for the red flag was 24 minutes, 45 seconds.