Stage 1 of Daytona 500 ends with crash; Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones and more eliminated

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Kurt Busch, the defending champion of the the Daytona 500, won Stage 1 of the race as a multi-car wreck broke out on the backstretch.

The wreck occurred on Lap 60, the last lap of the stage. It included Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones, William Byron, Daniel Suarez, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr and Ty Dillon.

The crash began when Ryan Blaney was trying to pass Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Blaney made contact with Stenhouse, who shot up the track but was able to save his car. But the action caused a chain reaction behind them that started the wreck.

Johnson, eliminated in the crash, crashed out of all three of his races during Speedweeks.

“I think there was some great racing throughout,” Johnson told Fox. “But unfortunately, many thought that was the black and white checkered flag, not the green and white checkered flag. So, Lap 59 to be throwing blocks and stuff like that, that’s how you get a lot of wrecked race cars.”

Later, outside the infield care center, Johnson said, “I’m not sure everybody was thinking big picture and really using their head.”

Byron, Larson and Truex were able to continue. Dillon was eliminated, as was Johnson, Jones and Suarez.

The crash continues back luck for Joe Gibbs Racing. Kyle Busch is multiple laps down after losing his left-side tire twice. The second time, on Lap 50,  resulted in a three-car crash.

Denny Hamlin is back on the lead lap after falling one lap down after being help a lap for pitting outside his box.

“Things were getting a little crazy for the end of the stage, Suarez told Fox. “I thought I was going to be safer (in the front), but I guess they were just over-aggressive.”