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Daytona 500: Attrition Marks Early Laps Of Great American Race

The Daytona 500 is just past one-quarter mark, and already seven cars have spent time in the garage. The race got going just after 7 p.m., and lasted barely one lap before a five-car melee broke out. The wreck, triggered when Elliott Sadler misplaced a bump-draft on the rear bumper of Jimmie Johnson's machine through the trioval, sent Johnson's car slamming head-on into the outside wall before it was t-boned by Unadilla's David Ragan. Kurt Busch, defending 500 champion Trevor Bayne, and Danica Patrick - in her Sprint Cup debut - were also involved and sent to the garage for repairs.

Ryan Newman blew a right-rear tire and spun off the tri-oval to bring out the race's second caution. As he was leaving pit road, his left-rear wheel, clearly not attached, fell off the car. A.J. Allmendinger ran smack into the rear of Newman's stationary Chevrolet, sending "The Dinger's" Dodge to the garage.

Robby Gordon blew an engine not long after that. As things stand, Bayne and Allmendinger are back in the rac,e while Patrick and Busch's car continue to recieve repairs. Johnson, Ragan, and Gordon are all out of the race.

With 55 laps complete, Jeff Burton leads from Greg Biffle, Regan Smith, Joey Logano, and Marcos Ambrose.

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