The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series had two practices on Wednesday to prepare for Thursday night's Budweiser Duel qualifying races for the Daytona 500. Unfortunately two accidents in the first practice of Wednesday have forced seven teams to go to back up cars due to severe damage sustained.
The biggest accident, which involved seven cars, ended the session after only 30 minutes due to track crews needing to fix some of the front stretch catch fence. Coming off Turn 4 in a big drafting pack were Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano. They were in the middle of three-wide drafting and Kenseth moved down the track a little and then back up but when he did Joey Logano had his nose at Kenseth's right-rear corner already. The two made contact and then Logano spun sideways when Trevor Bayne made contact into him from behind.
Paul Menard was then spun sideways into the path of Parker Kligerman. Kligerman's No. 30 Swan Racing car was then sent into the air when it was rammed by Ryan Truex and went front first into the catch fence and then back onto the track where Kligerman slide on his roof to the exit of pit road. Dave Blaney also made heavy contact into Logano's car.
All the drivers were okay but the same could not be said of their cars.
"I had the run, so I was going to fill that hole and then he (Kenseth) started to come back up, and I was there," Logano said. "Maybe I shouldn't have been racing as hard as I was in practice, but everybody was in a big pack there trying to make things happen. As soon as he came back up, I checked up a little bit, and then the 21 (car of Bayne) hit me from behind and we spun out. It happens. That's Daytona for you."
The cars of Kenseth and Bayne did not have a lot of damage and those teams will not need to go to a back up car. Joey Logano, Paul Menard, Parker Kligerman, Ryan Truex, and Dave Blaney all will have to use back up cars for their Duel race. Blaney's Randy Humphrey owned team did not have a No. 77 Ford back up car at the track and might not be able to participate in his Duel race unless they come up with a car.
Earlier in the first practice of the day Cole Whitt had a tire blow on his No. 26 Swan Racing car and slapped hard into the wall. Brian Vickers went down the track to avoid Whitt's car and made contact with Casey Mears. Vickers then nosed hard into the wall and will have to go to a back up car along with Whitt. Mears will be able to stick with his primary car as will Jeff Gordon who had a piece from Vickers car strike his car in the front end.
All the drivers going to back up cars will have to start their Duel race at the rear.
In all 34 of the 49 cars ran laps in the first practice. AJ Allmendinger was fastest in the No. 47 Chevrolet for JTG/Daughtery Racing.
The second practice of the day was extended to 145 minutes due to the first practice being cut short. Forty of the 49 cars participated. Joey Logano, Brian Vickers, and Paul Menard made laps in their back up cars while Ryan Truex, Parker Kligerman, Cole Whitt, and Dave Blaney did not run laps in their back ups.
Denny Hamlin turned the fastest lap of the second practice session which did not have any accidents.
The Budweiser Duel at Daytona can be seen live at 7 p.m. ET Thursday night as the races will be run at night for the first time. Fox Sports 1 will have the coverage. With the practice crashes it will be interesting to see how intense the racing is in the Duel races. If it is high more wrecks can be expected and the same can be said of the Daytona 500 on Sunday. That is what has been learned from the Sprint Unlimited and Wednesday's practice.
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