A FRUSTRATING six-hour rain delay and several big crashes marked NASCAR's opening Sprint Cup race of 2014 at the Daytona International Raceway yesterday.
The rain delay came 39 laps into the biggest motorsport event in the US and pushed the race into the evening.
Launceston's Marcos Ambrose got caught in a 13-car wreck at the three-quarter mark of the 200-lap race and limped home in 18th place.
Kevin Harvick, Brian Scott and Ambrose's Richard Petty Motorsports teammate Aric Almirola collided while racing three-wide on lap 145 causing Almirola's car to spin across the track.
The crash took out Almirola and the series' only female driver, Danica Patrick, who had led the event for two laps.
Patrick was taken to the track medical centre after the crash, but was cleared of any injury.
Patrick and Ambrose had earlier been involved in a pit-lane incident when there was contact with the Tasmanian's No. 9 Ford Fusion and Patrick's Chevrolet.
Ambrose raced in the top 10 at times earlier in the day, but after a second crash on lap 160 conceded that his car wouldn't be able to challenge for the lead.
There was another crash on the final lap, but Dale Earnhardt jnr was able to avoid the carnage to add a second Daytona 500 to his 2004 victory.
He lead the race for 54 laps and his No. 88 Chevrolet always looked strong.
Toyota driver Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski, in a Ford, filled the places.
Less than half the field of 43 completed the 200 laps of the race.
The NASCAR action moves to Phoenix next weekend.