Big Crash Cuts Testing Short for Some

Kasey Kahne

Kasey Kahne was one of many that were collected in the chain-reaction crash on the backstretch of the 2.5-mile oval. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A number of teams were forced to cut Preseason Thunder at Daytona International Speedway short after a 12-car crash destroyed their cars in Friday afternoon's testing session.

The chain-reaction crash started when Dale Earnhardt Jr. attempted to push Marcos Ambrose to the front while drafting in a 19-car pack along the backstretch of the 2.5-mile oval.

"Marcos was backing up to me in (Turns) 1 and 2 to get a run down the back, and I was just going to give him a push to see if he could get the lead," Earnhardt said.  "I was trying to eventually get to the lead myself.  We got off the back straightaway and I was pushing him along there, and our cars didn't match up really well and I hooked him into the fence."

Marcos AmbroseIt was heartbreaker for Ambrose, who had the fastest Ford in single-car runs during both sessions Thursday.

“I feel bad for my Richard Petty Motorsports team,” Ambrose said.  “I've got 'Junior' pushing me.  He’s a great drafter, can really feel it well.  I got caught on the edge of the bumper and with the shaped noses and the tires, it just spun me out.  It was hardly even a bump - just enough at the wrong angle, wrong time, and I went for a spin."

The end result sent a number of drivers to the garage with heavy damage including Ambrose, Aric Almirola, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Regan Smith.  Since teams are still constructing the new sixth-generation Sprint Cup Series racecars, all the teams - except the No. 99 of Edwards - were without back-up cars.

"We still had a day of testing to go," Kahne said.  "We were making gains and hopefully, we'll be ready to come back."

Edwards, who will now concentrate on single-car runs, said the new car was less stable in the draft and should provide for some exciting racing.

“The cars move around a little bit more,” Edwards said. “There's a little more slipping and sliding and I think that's going to make for a better race. That's what the drivers want to see. That's what the fans want to see. It will be in our hands to tune the cars and get them balanced right, especially if it's hot for the Daytona 500."

Earnhardt will be able to finish out the test as his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet escaped with only minor damage.

"We’ll go back to single-car runs," Earnhardt said.  "I don't think anybody wants any more drafting after that.  We’re probably going to be here 'til 5 o’clock tomorrow working on our cars.  We’ve got to find a little more speed."

Trevor Bayne posted the fastest lap of the day prior to the crash at 199.658 mph.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup

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