Big Crash Snags Stewart and Others
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on February 15, 2014 | 10:30 P.M. EST
Stewart was among nine drivers collected in a crash on Lap 36 of the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo: Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - It was not the lesson Tony Stewart wanted to have Saturday night, but he found out his repaired right leg could withstand a crash.
Stewart was among nine drivers collected in a crash on Lap 36 of the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway.
The incident started when Matt Kenseth cut down on Joey Logano, sending cars spinning and slamming into each other - including Ricky Stenhouse Jr. peeling the sheet metal off the left side of girlfriend Danica Patrick’s car.
Nobody was injured in the incident.
Kenseth took the blame.
“It appears that I cut off Joey and didn’t leave enough room,’’ Kenseth said. “I was just trying to watch both lanes and I was trying as hard as I could to help my teammate (Denny Hamlin). I thought I had a good half a car length to three-quarters of a car length and by the time I looked away from my mirror and looked back the other way, he must have got a run and got in there and didn’t see him.’’
Competitors had talked about the closing rate being greater this year with the larger spoiler.
“It’s bumper cars at 200 miles per hour,’’ said Jeff Gordon, who was collected in the crash. “The closing rate is so severe. When you lose that momentum, you get caught up in a hurry.’‘
Said Carl Edwards, also involved in the crash: “This race is just about aggression. It’s about going out there and just keeping your foot down and racing hard and we all know that there is about a 50 percent chance that this could happen.’’
Stenhouse said he didn’t know he rammed into Parick’s car until she told him when they were both in the infield care center.
“Just a produce of not being able to see,’’ Stenhouse said. “It’s tough to turn when the wheels are turned in different directions.’’
Replays showed that his car seemed to accelerate before hitting Patricks. Stenhouse said he was trying to get the car out of gear before the contact.
Stewart said the side drafting also seemed to be different with the larger spoiler.
“You’re going to have to work hard to pass,’’ Stewart said. “It’s easy to get stalled out.”