(CBS/AP) The Daytona 500 added another strange chapter in its already unconventional history Monday night when Juan Pablo Montoya crashed under caution into a safety truck filled with about 200 gallons of jet fuel.
The collision caused a massive fireball that scorched the track and will be the most indelible image of a much-anticipated race that had been delayed by weather.
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.
Meanwhile, crews used tide laundry detergent to clean up the mess.
But CBSSports.com's Pete Pistone says this isn't the first strange incident to occur at the "Great American Race."
"Daytona International Speedway has seen its share of weirdness over the years racing from Dale Earnhardt hitting a seagull at speed racing down the backstretch to a driver (ok I admit it, my uncle "Tiger" Tom Pistone) actually wearing a mask and bolting an oxygen tank in his car as a precaution to driving into Lake Lloyd. He couldn't swim if you haven't guessed by now," Pistone writes.
"There was the infamous Daytona pot hole in 2010 that formed in turn two and brought the race - and some say NASCAR's momentum that season - to a screeching halt," he adds.
Montoya later spoke about the crash. (Transcript below, courtesy of CBSSports.com):
YOU HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF A LIMP, ARE YOU OK?
"I'm ok. My foot hurt, but I'm ok. For as big of a hit that way; I'm pretty good to be honest."
DID YOU TALK TO THE DRIVER OF THE JET DRYER TRUCK?
"He came with me (in the ambulance). He was pretty scared, but he looked ok."
"I told them when I left the pits something wasn't right and I felt a weird vibration when we were with the pack. Every time I got on the gas, it vibrated. So, I came back in and they checked all the rear-end and they said it was ok. I was going down the back straightaway, and I was going in fourth gear, but, we weren't even going that fast. Every time I got on the gas I could feel the rear really squeezing. I got on the brakes to travel up and while I was telling the spotter to have a look on how the rear was moving, the car just turned right."
DID YOU HEAR THE EXPLOSION?
"Oh yeah, it burned the helmet and everything. It's not where you want to finish the Daytona 500. Everybody on the Target team, with this great Chevy car, did an amazing job today. We didn't bump anybody, nobody bumped us, and we only had 40 laps to go. I thought we had a great car. I thought we were in the right place. Everything was working well and go through that, it sucks."
HOW ARE YOU FEELING?
"My foot hurts. I was full on the brakes and when I hit, I hit driver's side and my foot slipped onto the clutch and it scratched the top of my foot."
THIS IS CERTAINLY ONE OF THE MOST BIZARRE INCIDENTS WE HAVE SEEN
"I have hit a lot of things, but a jet dryer? I mean, no."