996. Biggest pile-up in racing history in 1960 at Daytona

Worst of the Worst: Motorsports CrashesMultimedia compilation of the Top 1,000 "WORST of the Worst: Motorsports Crashes" captured on video or still images, with an emphasis on the need for constant vigilance in keeping drivers, crew members, emergency workers, and especially spectators, safe at racing events around the globe.
 
Trio of screenshots from vintage footage of the biggest pile-up of cars at Daytona Int'l Speedway during the start of a race in 1960 / Headline Photos for Headline Surfer / Dubbed the biggest pile-up in auto-racing history in 1960, the Daytona Modified Sportsman Race at Daytona International Speedway was collossal for the sheer number of vehicles collected -- 37. This trio of snapshots and the display image above were were taken from the vintage video by Automobile History USA and downloaded from YouTube for this story. 
 
By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Right from the onset, the 1960 Daytona Modified Sportsman race at Daytona International Speedway was a disaster of epic proportions with the biggest collection of cars caught up in a single crash at a NASCAR-sanctioned racing event -- 37 of them. Fortunately, though, there were no casualties.

With 68 cars in the field -- more than half were quickly out of action as the green flag dropped to start the race. Thirty-seven cars were wrecked before the first lap was even completed. Eight drivers suffered minor cuts and bruises.

The potential for loss of life was there, considering all those cars were filled to the brim with gasoline for the start of the big race, but by some miracle or perhaps even divine intervention, fire did not break out. Still, the sheer volume of wrecked cars showed what can happen with high speeds.

This race could even be considered a pre-cursor for "The Big One" NASCAR fans have come to enjoy at restrictor plate races, especially on the super speedways of Daytona and Talladega, where cars are bunched up in one or more large packs and three- and four-wide in some cases where a wrong move here or there can spell major disaster. 

So while this 1960 vintage race is not on the list for serious injury or death, the sheer volume of vehicles destroyed makes it a viable choose in the countdown of the "worst of the worst motorsports crashes.

The big one at Daytona in 1960 / Headline Surfer1960 crash at Daytona collected 37 cars in the biggest pile-up to date, but injuries were minor / Headline SurferThe potential for loss of life was there, considering all those cars were filled to the brim with gasoline for the start of the big race, but by some miracle or perhaps even divine intervention, fire did not break out. Still, the sheer volume of wrecked cars showed what can happen with high speeds.

This race could even be considered a pre-cursor for "The Big One" NASCAR fans have come to enjoy at restrictor plate races, especially on the super speedways of Daytona and Talladega, where cars are bunched up in one or more large packs and three- and four-wide in some cases where a wrong move here or there can spell major disaster. 
 
So while this 1960 vintage race is not on the list for serious injury or death, the sheer volume of vehicles destroyed makes it a viable choose in the countdown of the "worst of the worst motorsports crashes. 

The highlight reel from the video footage has a one-liner from the narrator that truly is a classic: "Roll bars, crash helmets, seat belts and lady luck save lives this afternoon."

To date, this crash remains the biggest in NASCAR history.

Premise for the series:
Motorsports fans are drawn to racing for different reasons: The excitement of speed, skill of drafting & passing; strategies on when to pit for fuel, tires or repairs; the will to win and so forth. Ultimately, though, it's the big crashes that fans seem to like more than anything. And though nobody wishes serious injury or death to drivers, crew members, emergency personnel & especially spectators, the sad reality is carnage is always lurking. Despite the latest technology & improvements in aerodynamics of vehicles, driver equipment and enhanced track safety features, the fine line between life & death is always at play in any given sanctioned motorsport. Given that Headline Surfer® puts such an emphasis on racing with Daytona Beach International Speedway, the 24/7 internet news outlet is counting down its listing of the top 1,000 WORST of the Worst. While on the surface it may come across as gratuitous gore to critics, there can never be enough discussion about the need for constant vigilance in looking at safety.
 
Recap: WORST of the Worst Motorsports crashes:
996. Biggest pile-up in racing history in 1960 at Daytona
2017-01-07 12:56:38 -0500
 
997. Phil Krueger smacks wall hard in 1981 Indy 500
2017-01-05 00:30:38 -0500
 
998. Disgruntled ex-Mercedes employee in rain coat interrupts 2000 F1 Grand Prix in Germany
2017-01-04 10:35:00 -0500
 
999. BMW flips after intense contact with another car in Nürburgring VLN endurance road race; driver unscathed
2017-01-02 02:33:36 -0500
 
1,000. Rusty Wallace flips violently in 1983 Twin 125 qualifier at Daytona International Speedway
2017-01-01 16:05:48 -0500
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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet in Daytona Beach, Florida, via HeadlineSurfer.com. Specializing in breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters with dozens of journalism-industry awards.

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