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Caution Clock Strategy Results in Three-Truck Crash at Daytona

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The new caution clock rule ultimately wasn’t needed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway but it arguably played a key role in causing the first multi-vehicle crash of the season.

With about a minute remaining before the caution clock would have expired, drivers began to come down pit road on Lap 40 for fuel and tires as to not pit under the yellow. One lap later, a second batch of drivers hit pit road with less than 20 seconds to go, resulting in Cody Coughlin running into the back of Spencer Gallagher and causing a three car incident.

Both drivers were part of the second group to peel off the racing surface but Coughlin was not able to slow down as quickly as Gallagher. The ensuing contact sent Gallagher spinning in front of the field at the entrance to pit road, causing a natural caution before the clock was able to buzz artificially.

Most of the field avoided damage but Gallagher spun into the left rear of Christopher Bell, before nose-planting his Chevrolet into the infield grass. The front-end damage to the Gallagher truck was too severe to repair and he was credited with a 31st place finish.

“They just stopped in front of me,” Coughlin said on FS1. “I was doing my best to stay off (Gallagher) there but they checked up so hard in front of me that I got hit from behind.

“I’m not going to pretend to be excited or optimistic about it, because it’s not a positive thing and there’s nothing we can take away from it.”

Coughlin said he was told that several drivers pit the previous lap and to be mindful of those who would slow down on Lap 41.

“We’re up on the race track under green flag conditions so you don’t let off because you think someone might be pitting,” Coughlin said. “You expect them to get below the line. I’m not saying it’s anyones fault, I’m just saying it’s one of those deals where everyone is close together and there’s contact.”

This story will be updated after the race.

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Matt Weaver is the Executive Editor of POPULAR SPEED. He has covered NASCAR since 2011 and full-time since 2013. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He has been published all across the country and routinely makes radio appearances on Sirius XM Satellite radio and NBC Sports Radio Network.