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Watch nine-car crash at NASCAR's Sprint Unlimited race [Video]

February 17, 2013|By Dan Loumena

It took only 15 laps into the Sprint Unlimited race Saturday night for the first big crash of the NASCAR season. 

The race, featuring the new Gen-6 cars, is more of an exhibition before the season-opening Daytona 500 next weekend, but it provided the usual thrills and chills as Kevin Harvick outlasted 19 rivals to take the checkered flag.

Several big-name drivers were knocked out on Lap 15 when Tony Stewart, who was in second place, made a move down the track and his car made contact with the car of Marcos Ambrose.

By the time the chain-reaction crash involving nine drivers was sorted out, seven cars were too damaged to continue racing, including that of defending race winner Kyle Busch, who had already wrecked a car in practice.

Also taken out were Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson from Hendrick Motorsports, Mark Martin and Kurt Busch.

“I didn't see much. I was just cruising along and I saw sparks in front of me -- I knew that wasn't good,” Johnson said.

Greg Biffle finished second and Joey Logano was third in his Penske Racing debut. Stewart was fourth and Matt Kenseth finished fifth in his Joe Gibbs Racing debut.

As for racing in the new Gen-6 cars, Harvick said the drivers and teams have more adjustments to make.

"Still a lot to be learned," Harvick said. "When you put 43 [cars] out, there things will move and shift a lot easier.

"It's going to be a pack, absolutely. I don't think there's going to be too many chances. You'll see some cars break away. I think if you turn on a 2000 race, one of those races, it's going to be very similar."

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