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Early Gatorade Duel Melee Eliminates David Gilliland, Juan Pablo Montoya, And Paul Menard

A vicious three-car melee on lap nine of the first Gatorade Duel will send Paul Menard, David Gilliland, and Juan Pablo Montoya to their backup cars for Sunday's Daytona 500.

The trio crashed together in the first corner after contact from Michael McDowell sent Gilliland onto the apron. His Ford shot back up the hill into Montoya and Menard, before all three cars crashed together against the wall. Montoya's Chevrolet sustained the heaviest damage, but both Menard and Gilliland's cars are significantly crumpled as well.

Brad Keselowski brushed the wall, doing cosmetic damage to his Dodge.

All four drivers are locked into the field, and no drivers trying to make the field via the Duels were collected in the incident. One driver who is trying to make the field but had already experienced trouble is Robby Gordon. His self-owned Dodge began smoking heavilly on the initial start of the race, caused by a possible tire rub. The Sprint Cup veteran has only failed to make the 500 one time, in his first year of team-ownership in 2005.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.