Danica Patrick in crash as delayed Daytona 500 starts

Danica Patrick stands by her car before the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Feb. 27, 2012. AP

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, former IndyCar driver Danica Patrick and defending race champion Trevor Bayne have been involved in a wreck on the second lap of the Daytona 500, a day after the race was postponed for the first time in history.

The accident just minutes after the green flag dropped Monday night began when Elliott Sadler nudged five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson. He shot into the wall, then rolled back down the track.

Patrick was coming along behind the accident and was caught in the chaos. She took her car to the garage to repair the damage.

It marked yet another incident in what's been a rocky SpeedWeeks for Patrick. She was wrecked in Thursday's qualifying race, and after winning the pole for the Nationwide Series race, she was wrecked by JR Motorsports teammate Cole Whitt.

Her tally is three wrecks in three races, and none were of her doing.

Johnson is done for the night and says he's "really, really bummed to start the season this way." Patrick, Bayne and Kurt Busch also were caught up in the mess.

Ragan asked "what kind of bone head would make a move like that this early" in the 500.

The race was postponed Sunday for the first time in its 54-year history due to heavy rain. It was initially rescheduled for noon Monday and delayed again until 7 p.m., marking the race's first-ever night start.

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Johnson won five consecutive Sprint Cup championships before finishing sixth last season. Patrick is making her Cup debut after leaving IndyCar after last season. Bayne was the surprise winner of last year's race.

The season opener is NASCAR's most prestigious event, and this one comes with several intriguing story lines for a racing series trying to capitalize on the success of last season's captivating championship race.

Danica Patrick will make her Daytona 500 debut once the race begins, and it will be the first of 10 scheduled Sprint Cup Series events this season. She left IndyCar behind for a full-time move to NASCAR and will race for the Nationwide Series championship driving for JR Motorsports.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., the 2004 Daytona 500 champion, takes a 129-race losing streak into the event. His last victory was in 2008, his first season with powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports.

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