NSCS: Crash Mars Third Daytona 500 Practice Session; Kyle Busch Tops Speed Charts

Jacob Seelman Featured, NASCAR, Southeast 0 Comments

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. and CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Report by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images photo —

Try as you might to avoid it, eventually, the dreaded Big One will catch up with you at Daytona International Speedway.

The multi-car crash that scarred Wednesday’s first Daytona 500 practice session — the third session overall for Sunday’s Great American Race — was not a 15-car wreck, but it did involve some very prominent names in the field of hopefuls looking to race their way in during Thursday’s Budweiser Duels.

Just a few minutes into the session, Danica Patrick’s No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet bounced off the wall after making contact with the No. 11 FedEx Toyota of Denny Hamlin when Hamlin tried to move to the inside of Patrick in the draft. Patrick came off the wall and down into traffic, scattering the pack in the process.

“Who hit me?” a dejected Patrick said over the radio after the incident.

After being able to review the tapes, Patrick was left frustrated at losing what was — by her standards — a very good 500 car, while Hamlin took the blame for the incident.

“It’s unfortunate,” Patrick said. “I know it was a good car coming from the shop. “With this new qualifying format, we knew we were going to have to race hard through the Duels, and that’s not going to change. This just makes extra work with everybody having to get things ready on the other car. We’re taking the backup car out and hopefully we’ll make sure it runs good in the pack and we’ll go from there.”

“People say in practice that you can’t make aggressive moves, but we also have to put ourselves in decent positions where we’re going to have to figure out what our car is doing,” Hamlin said. “I went through the middle and it was really wide — it just closed as soon as I had already got inside of her and the lane closed. It knocked me into the 13 (Mears) and we had some attrition after that.”

“It’s nothing that we have to go to a backup car for, but it messed up other cars. That’s the tough part about it,” Hamlin added. “You always have to give a little bit extra room in practice. There’s typically not a whole lot of blocking in practice and things like that – that you’ll see in the race. Also, you do have to go three-wide in those situations because you have to figure out what your car is going to do. That’s just a miscalculation one way or another on one of our parts. Unfortunately some cars got torn up.”

When the HScott Motorsports Chevrolet of Michael Annett tried to slow up to avoid Patrick’s spinning car, he was hooked by the BK Racing Toyota of Jeb Burton, sending Annett spinning into the grass as well and causing heavy damage to both the front and rear of his Pilot/Flying J machine.

Patrick, Annett and Burton will all go to backup cars for their respective Budweiser Duels on Thursday night, while Hamlin’s crew was able to repair his machine and get him back out onto the track before the end of the practice session.

Meanwhile, Hamlin’s teammate Kyle Busch was all smiles after posting the fastest speed in the practice session. Busch’s M&Ms Crispy Toyota lapped the 2.5-mile superspeedway at 200.776 mph to give Joe Gibbs Racing a bright spot amidst the early carnage.

Outside polesitter Jimmie Johnson was second quick with a lap of 200.530 mph in his quest for a third Harley J. Earl trophy, and 2011 winner Trevor Bayne was third overall at 200.053 mph, the only other driver to crack 200 mph in the session.

Kasey Kahne (199.858 mph) and Ryan Newman (199.645 mph) rounded out the Fast Five.

Sprint Unlimited winner Matt Kenseth was surprisingly down the leaderboard, coming in 31st overall with a best lap of 194.489 mph.

 

RESULTS: Daytona 500 Practice; Daytona International Speedway; February 18, 2015

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Jimmie Johnson
  3. Trevor Bayne
  4. Kasey Kahne
  5. Ryan Newman
  6. Brian Scott
  7. Jeff Gordon
  8. Casey Mears
  9. Michael Waltrip
  10. David Gilliland
  11. David Ragan
  12. Justin Marks
  13. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  14. Tony Stewart
  15. Carl Edwards
  16. Paul Menard
  17. Justin Allgaier
  18. Josh Wise
  19. Denny Hamlin
  20. Ty Dillon
  21. Austin Dillon
  22. Landon Cassill
  23. Kevin Harvick
  24. Brad Keselowski
  25. Michael McDowell
  26. Sam Hornish Jr.
  27. Ryan Blaney
  28. Greg Biffle
  29. Jeb Burton
  30. Michael Annett
  31. Matt Kenseth
  32. Kyle Larson
  33. Kurt Busch
  34. Joey Logano
  35. Clint Bowyer
  36. Jamie McMurray
  37. A.J. Allmendinger
  38. Alex Bowman
  39. Aric Almirola
  40. Danica Patrick
  41. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  42. Cole Whitt
  43. Ron Hornaday Jr.
  44. Bobby Labonte

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