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The Shocking Moment a NASCAR Driver Careened Into a Jet Dryer -- and the Resulting Fireball

"I thought, ‘I’m actually hitting the jet and it’s not going to be fun.'"

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (The Blaze/AP) -- The Daytona 500 was halted by a fiery explosion on Monday, caused when Juan Pablo Montoya slammed into a jet dryer under caution.

Montoya was driving well behind the rest of the field when something on his car broke, and he started sliding out of control toward the truck, which holds a track dryer and 200 gallons of jet kerosene.

Montoya's No. 42 Chevrolet hammered the truck, setting off an explosion and sending fuel pouring onto the famed track. Yahoo! has more details, including what led up to the crash:

With the race under caution, Montoya headed to the pits after feeling a vibration in his car. When his crew found nothing, he roared back onto the track in an effort to catch up to the pack before the race went back to green-flag conditions. But just as he entered Turn 3, he felt the vibration again, something broke and Montoya’s No. 42 went spinning right into the back of a jet dryer, which was blowing debris off the track.

Montoya got out unharmed, although he seemed to stagger around the infield grass. The driver of the truck had to be helped from the vehicle and was later taken to the hospital for observation.

“I have hit a lot of things, but a jet dryer? I mean, no,” Montoya said after. “I didn’t think about the truck, I thought, ‘I’m actually hitting the jet and it’s not going to be fun.’ Before I got there I was thinking, ‘This thing is going to be on fire pretty bad,’ and it was.”

The jet dryers do hold an actual jet engine and are used to dry the track and clear it of debris.

But the fiery crash was just the latest mess to hamper NASCAR's season-opening race.

It was postponed more than 30 hours because of rain and then rescheduled as a primetime event under the lights. There was also a lap-two crash that knocked out NASCAR favorite Jimmy Johnson

The delay came two years after the 500 was halted for hours because of a pesky pothole in turn two. That one damaged the track so much that officials moved up a scheduled repaving to the track.

Officials were able to clean the track using, among other things, Tide laundry detergent. It delayed the race for over two hours.

One last thing…
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