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Jimmie Johnson, Danica Patrick Crash Starts Daytona 500

The Daytona 500 was barely one lap old when Elliott Sadler clipped the left rear corner of Jimmie Johnson's Chevrolet, turning the five-time champ head on into the outside wall exiting the trioval. Johnson's Chevrolet skidded and was struck just in front of the driver's side door by David Ragan. Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch, and defending race champion Trevor Bayne were all involved as well. Bayne and Busch can continue, but Patrick's Chevrolet has gone to the garage. Ragan's front-end was heavilly damaged and the entire front-third of the 2006 Daytona 500 winner's mount was completely demolished.

Several vicious crashes this week have been triggered by cars getting onto the left-rear corner of the car ahead of them, turning them sideways and causing a huge pileup.

Outside polesitter Greg Biffle led the opening lap, ahead of teammate Matt Kenseth. Tony Stewart, polesitter Carl Edwards, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top five. Regan Smith, Marcos Ambrose, Jeff Burton, Sadler, and Joey Logano complete the top-ten runners.

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