Daytona 500 resumes after lengthy weather delay

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The Daytona 500 resumed Sunday night at Daytona International Speedway following a lengthy delay for inclement weather.

The red flag period was lifted at 9:08 p.m. ET. It lasted for five hours, 40 minutes, and 29 seconds.

Prior to the red flag, a 17-car crash ensued on Lap 14 of 200. As the field went down the backstretch heading into Turn 3, contact from behind by Christopher Bell sent Aric Almirola spinning into Alex Bowman as they were racing for second place behind leader Kevin Harvick.

Shortly after the crash, lightning within an 8-mile radius of the track halted the race at 3:28 p.m. ET. Rain began about 3:45 p.m.

The crash collected Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, William Byron, Daniel Suarez, Matt DiBenedetto, and Tyler Reddick, among others.

At the time of the red flag, six drivers involved in the crash were confirmed out of the race: Almirola, Bowman, Suarez, Newman, Erik Jones, and David Ragan.

Shortly after the end of the red flag, several other drivers involved in the crash – including Blaney, DiBenedetto, Chris Buescher, and rookie Anthony Alfredo – officially fell out of the race.

“We were just getting pushed too hard too early,” Almirola said. “It’s a long, long race. Man, we were in a fine position, just sitting there riding around in the top two, three and the 20 (Bell) just came with a big run and hit me really hard in a bad spot and it turned me to the right and tore up our race car and ended our Daytona 500 way too early.”

Said Bowman: “It looks like (Almirola) kind of got turned sideways there and I was the guy that got ran into. … Hats off to everybody at Hendrick Motorsports; they built some really fast race cars. Hate that superspeedway racing works out that way sometimes, but that’s just part of the game.”

Byron had qualified on the front row alongside pole sitter Bowman, but gave up his second-place starting position after wrecking his primary car in Thursday’s Duel qualifying races.

He had tweeted that the damage to his backup car sustained in Sunday’s incident could be fixed.

Newman, who was making his Daytona 500 return one year after surviving a harrowing crash on the final lap, said he had nowhere to go.

“I had the wreck missed, but got hit from some place and that was the end of our day,” he said.

1990 Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope was the first to be eliminated on Sunday. He crashed on Lap 3 following an apparent tire failure.