FORT WORTH, Texas — A chaotic Friday practice session for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams at Texas Motor Speedway saw three potential race winners encounter issues at the newly-repaved and reconfigured 1.5-mile oval.
Chase Elliott crashed with 12 minutes remaining in the session, getting out of the groove as he exited turn two on a mock qualifying run and pancaking the right side of his No. 24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet against the outside wall before shooting across the track and going nose-first into the inside wall.
Heavy damage to the right front corner of the car forced Elliott’s crew to unload a backup car for the rest of the weekend.
“I just got out of the groove there off (Turn) 2 and got too high and got the wall,” he explained. “Then I had too much wheel in it going the other way, so (it was) just a mistake on my end. I hate it. I thought our car was pretty good, so hopefully this (backup) will be just as good if not better.”
The Dawsonville, Ga. young gun was not sure if the crash meant he would have to dial back how hard he pushed his new car during Coors Light Pole Qualifying.
“We will talk about it and see what we think is best,” Elliott said in regards to qualifying. “It is obviously a case where … we just need to be mindful of the rest of the weekend. This is our last car. We just need to keep that in mind. It’s definitely edgy so that is something to think about.”
Elliott said that he didn’t feel that the repaving of Texas itself was an inherent cause of his incident, admitting that he simply made an error.
“With new repaves, we have to have a tire that can withstand the speed … and when that happens it just makes (the car) real on edge,” he explained. “That’s just part of it. It’s not an excuse; I just made a mistake.”
He also gave some sage advice to the remainder of the Cup field.
“Don’t do what I just did.”
Roughly 10 minutes prior to Elliott’s incident, rookie Erik Jones got up into the marbles in turns three and four, drilling the outside wall and coasting halfway down the quad-oval.
Jones’ Toyota teammate, 2015 Cup champion Kyle Busch, also had an incident during practice. With 43 minutes left in the session, Busch got into turn two high and tapped the outside wall with the right rear quarter-panel, causing minor damage to the back of the car.
While the team elected to repair the car as opposed to going to a backup, Busch made a statement when he was required to go to the infield care center (per NASCAR’s new concussion protocol) for such a small incident.
He laid down in a medical golf cart in the garage area, crossing his arms in frustration as he was whisked off. Busch was later checked out and released.
Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series kicks off at 6:15 p.m. ET.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 23-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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