A crash during NASCAR Sprint Cup practice Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway forced several drivers to backup cars and damaged part of a fence along the frontstretch. The accident happened near the spot where a crash during the last lap of the NASCAR Nationwide race in 2013 sent pieces of racecars into the stands injuring several fans.
Wednesday’s incident occurred during the first practice for Thursday nights Duel qualifying races. Matt Kenseth appeared to slide down into the Ford of Joey Logano.
“We were coming off four there and the 20 (Kenseth) started making a move to go down,” Logano said. “I assumed he was gonna go down there. I had the run, so I was gonna fill that hole and then he started to come back up and I was there. Maybe I shouldn’t have been racing as hard as I was there 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 hit me from behind and we spun out. It happens. That’s Daytona for you.”
Kenseth said the incident started when he was forced to slow.
“We were all just kind of running two-wide and the 5 (Kasey Kahne) and the 27 (Paul Menard) were merging and we got by the 5 okay and I couldn’t clear the 27,” Kenseth said. “So anyway, it kind of got tight getting into (turn) three because I think I was under maybe the 1 (Jamie McMurray) car and I don’t think he knew we were three-wide and it was kind of tight. Anyway, we just all lost a lot of speed and I got off (turn) four and I was just staying straight and I guess that was when the 22 (Joey Logano) car got close to me. “
Kenseth seemed to indicate that Logano was at fault.
“He got right on me and moved my car to the left a little bit and I still straightened out and we had plenty of room for everybody,” Kenseth said. “Then he kind of clipped my right rear somehow and that seemed to trigger and he had to slow down a little bit after that and that seemed to trigger the wreck -- it looked like anyway”
The ensuing melee involved at least six cars and sent rookie Parker Kligerman’s Toyota up into the fence; the car then slid upside down to a stop near turn one. All the drivers involved were able to climb from their cars.
Kligerman seemed to agree that perhaps Logano was to blame for the incident.
“I was going into (turn) three and trying to back out of the draft,” Kligerman said. “We were good and we were going to quit for the day -- just pack it up and wait for tomorrow or tonight. I guess from what I could see, the 22 (Joey Logano) was just being overly aggressive and it’s a shame. He’s supposed to be a veteran. You go up here to the Sprint Cup Series and it’s supposed to be the best of the best and you have a guy who in practice is racing people like that -- like it’s the last lap of the Daytona 500, meanwhile I came out of Truck practice and we were running three or four-wide no problem. I don’t quite understand that one, I’ll have to talk to him about that. I’m pretty upset about how all that went down.”
Track workers had to make repairs to the SAFER barrier as well as the fence. Last February 23 a similar accident caused damage to the fence in almost the same spot and sent several fans to a local hospital. None of the injures were serious and the Daytona 500 went on as scheduled the next day.
The lineup will be set for the 56th running of the Daytona 500 Thursday night with the twin qualifying races. The Daytona 500 is set for this Sunday.