Montoya's freak fiery crash brings early halt to Daytona 500

Juan Pablo Montoya emerges from his burning wreck
Juan Pablo Montoya emerges from his burning wreck

Feb.27 (Reuters) The Daytona 500 was stopped with 40 laps still remaining, on Monday after a bizarre accident when former Formula 1 winner, Juan Pablo Montoya, crashed into  a jet dryer truck causing it to burst into flames.

Fireball on the daytona embankment
Fireball on the Daytona embankment

The race was under caution when Montoya, with no rival car near him, lost control of his vehicle and struck the back of the truck, which is used to dry out the track and blow away debris.

A giant fireball shot up from the vehicle as the fuel in the truck ignited, though it was well away from the spectator areas.

Montoya got out of his vehicle unhurt and while the truck driver was taken to hospital he was reported to be unhurt.

The race was stopped as officials sought to remove the truck and the fuel from the track. It was unclear how much damage had been done to the racing surface.

Dave Blaney held the lead when the race was stopped after 160 laps. The 101 lap minimum needed for a winner to be declared having been well and truly taken care of by then.

Montoya drove in Formula 1 from 2001 until 2006, making 94 starts, winning seven times and scoring 30 podiums. He was the last driver to win in a Williams, for whom he drove for until 2004.

He joined McLaren in 2005 and quit F1 after a first lap accident during the 2006 United States GP at Indianapolis. He joined NASCAR with Chip Ganassi Racing in the #42 Texaco/Havoline car and drives for the operation to this day – the team now known as Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.

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