First stage of Daytona 500 ends with crash that takes out top contenders

Kyle Larson (42), Martin Truex Jr. (78), Michael McDowell (34), Daniel Suarez (19), Jimmie Johnson (48), Kevin Harvick (4), Erik Jones (20), William Byron (24) and Chase Elliott (9) make their way through Turn 3 during a multi-car collision in the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The final lap of the first stage of Sunday’s Daytona 500 was the final lap of the race for Erik Jones, Jimmie Johnson and others.

Stenhouse was second as the final lap of the 60-lap stage was half over. He moved to hold off a potential pass from Ryan Blaney and did so aggressively, driving Blaney towards the bottom of the track. Stenhouse was too aggressive and he got loose because of contact with Blaney.

Stenhouse was able to save his car, but as he slowed down ahead of the field others weren’t as lucky. Jones, Johnson, Suarez and Ty Dillon all got caught up in the crash.

(Via Fox)

“But unfortunately, many thought it was the black and white checkered flag and not the green and white checkered flag,” Johnson said. “On lap 59 to be throwing blocks like that just…a lot of wrecked race cars.”

The wreck came after a five-lap run to the finish of the stage because of a caution caused by Kyle Busch. Busch lost a tire for the second time and his car spun in turn three, collecting Jamie McMurray and DJ Kennington.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!