Danica, Earnhardt Crash at Daytona

The multi-car accidents will prove expensive for the JR Motorsports team

By Lauren Bertolini
|  Saturday, Feb 13, 2010  |  Updated 6:19 PM EDT
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Danica, Earnhardt Crash at Daytona

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Let's end on a good note: Danica Patrick became this decade's Anna Kournikova, except, you know, she's actually good. She broke through as the 2005 Indy 500 and Series season Rookie of the Year, and in 2008 became the first woman to win an IndyCar race. What, not the image you wanted?

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick were both involved in multi-car accidents at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday during the Nationwide Series opener. Neither was seriously injured, but the pair of wrecked cars are sure to weigh heavy on Earnhardt's JR Motorsports team.

Patrick was running 21st when several cars wrecked in front of her at her NASCAR debut. She tried to duck low to avoid the spinning cars but was unable to dodge everything, slamming into the outside wall.

Her car then spun through the grass, but Patrick regained control and drove to the pits. Her crew pushed the car back to the garage with heavy damage to the front.

Eanhardt's car flipped upside down in the frightening crash -- his Chevrolet slid through the grass, and finally flipped back onto its wheels before coming to a stop.

''You don't want to flip one upside down and it not be spectacular. You don't want to waste your opportunity, right?'' Earnhardt joked after the mandatory ambulance ride to the care center.

''It's good to flip upside down every once in a while, but it's just too expensive for me.''

Earnhardt's JR Motorsports team is short on sponsorship money but committed to running a full season. His 10-car accident happened shortly after racing resumed from an earlier 12-car accident that collected Danica Patrick.

Patrick was making her Nationwide Series debut for JR Motorsports.

''We're going to have to go back and balance our books after that. This has been a rough day for JR Motorsports,'' he said. ''We do our books by the month pretty much, and kind of know where we are financially. We were looking for about $400,000 between now and the end of the season, trying to work that in somehow and find that or cut that somewhere.

''We just knocked ourselves back a few steps. It was an expensive day for us.''

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