Christian Elder Wins Crash Marred Goody's 200
13 February 1999
Daytona Beach, FL--The Goody's Dash Series race at Daytona was won by Christian Elder. A caution-filled race marred by several severe accidents was red-flagged three times. The 42 car field was reduced to 22 cars by races' end. For Elder, Robert Huffman (2nd place), Joe Buford (3rd place) and the other surviving 19 cars the race must have felt like it was going to last for an eternity.
For driver's Scott Weaver, George Crenshaw, Danny Snell and Danny Bagwell, who were all involved in horrendous accidents, the day could not have been over sooner. The 42 car field took the green flag shortly after 11:00am and no sooner than you could say "Daytona" there was an accident in Turn #4 involving Randy Humphrey, Wally Leatherwood and Shannon Bryant. The first caution period of the day lasted two laps. Three laps later the first of two severe multi-car crashes occurred. Going into the frontstretch Chad Branham and Scott Weaver touched and set-off a nine car melee. The second pack of cars, following the first crash, actually caused further continuation of the initial carnage. By the time that the cars had been removed from the track Scott Weaver, Danny Snell and George Crenshaw were on there way to the hospital. Fortunately, none of the injuries were life threatening. However, Weaver (open fracture of the left tibia) and Crenshaw (fracture of the right femur) will be a while mending from their fractures. Danny Snell was taken to Halifax for x-rays of the neck and spine. His condition was not available. The race was red-flagged for 18 minutes.
When the race resumed on lap 17 Jake Hobgood, who had started from fifth position, was vying for the lead. Finally on lap 19 he passed Christain Elder for the lead. On the very next lap the second multi-car crash, causing another red-flag situation, occurred. As to who was at fault is still out for debate. What is not debatable is that 12 cars were involved. The smooth move of the race was that of eventual third-place finisher Joe Buford, in the #11 STOOGIES Ford, who managed to dodge all of the sliding and crashing cars. Of the 12 cars involved in the melee, 8 were out of the race. The race was red-flagged for a second time for 9 minutes to clean up the track. Thankfully, no one was required to be taken to near-by Halifax Medical Center.
The race re-started with 23 laps completed. On the next lap Robert Huffman grabbed the lead from Jimmy Gross who had inherited the lead by way of cars pitting for repairs or fuel and tires. The field raced for a total of 16 laps before the fourth caution flag flew due to Jake Hobgood spinning in turn # 4. The caution period lasted a total of 3 laps. During the caution, eventual winner Christain Elder took the lead and held it for 14 laps finally surrendering the lead, during a routine pit stop on lap 51, to Joe Buford in the #11 Stoogies Ford. The top ten running order with 30 laps to go was Elder, Huffman, Yarborough, Swaim,Sr., Bagwell, Goodell, Buford, Head, Kelley and Britts.
The field was able to stay away from anymore multi-car crashes. However, for Danny Bagwell who was looking for a great top-five finish, the most spectacular crash for 1999 at Daytona was about to occur. On lap 75 Bagwell was dueling for the lead with Elder, Huffman and Buford. It appeared that something broke as Bagwell came off of the fourth turn banking. Bagwell's Ford tumbled like a rolling pin at least six times, shredding pieces of the racecar with each impact. The rear wheel area section detatched intact. The violence of the crash was monumental. It was reminiscent of Richard Petty's front stretch crash in 1988. Incredibly, Bagwell was able to extricate himself from the protective roll-cage which was the only piece of the destroyed machinery that was recognizable as being part of a former racecar. The race was red-flagged for a third time which was secondary over the concern for Bagwell. The thirty minute red-flag session was in part due to needed repairs required on the crash fencing along the front straight.
The race would re-start with three laps to go. Elder in the lead spot was able to hold off the charges of Huffman and Buford. For all of the racers the day of racing was thankfully over. For winner Christian Elder the victory was a first for him at Daytona. For Danny Bagwell, the testing of the construction of the roll-cage will not be forgotten.
David Treffer -- The Auto Channel