The incredible crash seen above marred the end of Sunday night’s Coke Zero 400 race at Daytona. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. took the checkered flag, winning his second race of the season, but all he could think of afterwards was the well-being of Austin Dillon, the driver of the No. 3 car, who ended up airborne in the crash and careened into the fence that separates the cars from the stands.
In the video below starting at the 2:40 mark, we get an inside look into Junior’s conversation with his pit crew as he crossed the finish line. It’s clear from the audio that winning the race was secondary in his mind to the health of the drivers behind him, and the fans in the grandstand.
SPOTTER: Checkered flag right here. Big wreck in your mirror, big wreck in your mirror.
DALE: Oh no! Oh my God! Holy sh*t! That was awful.
SPOTTER: Yeah, buddy. It’s pretty bad.
DALE: Oh my f*cking God, man. Did you see that sh*t?
CREW CHIEF: Good job, Dale. We’re gonna have to stop on the checkered flag, there’s carnage.
In his post-race interview, Junior admitted his emotions nearly got the best of him, which is understandable considering the venue. “It scared the (crap) out of me,” Earnhardt said in a quote to USA Today. “I was near tears. I didn’t even know who it is, but you just don’t want to see anybody get hurt. It’s an awful feeling.”
He added that the motorhome environment that has drivers living amongst each other in close quarters leading up to each race has created a bit of a family atmosphere, so the last thing any driver wants to see is someone getting hurt. Thankfully, it appears in this case that everyone will walk away okay.
(via USA Today)