Drivers are finding out just how unstable the Gen 6 race cars are this week at Daytona International Speedway, gearing up for NASCAR’s season opener, the Daytona 500 on Sunday. Drivers will be in the cars again on Thursday for the Budweiser Duels, which will determine their starting position in the Great American Race.
Kasey Kahne was the fastest during practice with a speed of 197.737. Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Danica Patrick and Carl Edwards wrapped up the top five quickest.
Wrecks are becoming the norm this week as Ryan Newman spun right in front of both Carl Edwards and Mark Martin. All three of the cars sustained damage.
“I’ve been in three practice sessions and in all three of them, one of the top drivers in the sport wrecked right in front of me,” Martin said.
“I can’t believe it. I’m not comfortable practicing anymore because we keep wadding them up and there’s not really any reason for it. If they wrecking right in front of you, it’s hard to miss them.”
Newman on the other hand, said he was not sure what happened but he thinks the car is fixable and will not be going to a backup car.
“I don’t know. I want to watch first (after watching the replay). My car came around. I don’t know if it was the air off of Carl’s (Edwards) car or what. My car just came around. (Referring to the replay) You can see the back end getting light there. I think it’s just an aero situation, but that was news to me. Carl (Edwards) came over and said ‘hey man’& I said ‘I don’t even know what to tell you yet’. It was unfortunate for our Quicken Loans Chevrolet, but that is why we had practice. That was my first experience, but I guess my car just got light in the back going into the corner.” Newman said.
Edwards didn’t want Newman to take all the blame and said he thinks he helped cause Newman’s spin, “It was just a perfect storm of me trying to side-draft him just a little (and) his car got a little loose at the same time and there was no room there. I don’t think we’ll see that too much. I think that was kind of a unique circumstance.” Edwards said.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be going to a backup car for Thursday’s duels as eleven laps into first practice his Hendrick Chevrolet SS blew its engine.
Brad Keselowski had a fuel system issue but was able to get it repaired and continue practice.