Jeff Burton and Trevor Bayne lead Friday practice as The Big One strikes
Anticipation had been building over the course of testing as everyone wanted to see it – everyone wanted to see the pack hit the track with the new Generation 6 cars. Friday afternoon brought forth a pack of 20 cars that let everyone see what they’d expect with drafting. However, it didn’t last long as contact between Marcos Ambrose and Dale Earnhardt Jr. would cause a wreck, collecting a total of 10 cars.
Coming down the backstraightaway, Earnhardt Jr. was trying to push Ambrose in the draft, though a tap near the end of the back straight sent Ambrose spinning in front of the whole pack.
““We were just out there running around,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I felt like Marcus (Ambrose) was backing up to me in (turns) one and two to get a run down the back. I was just going to give him a push down the back straightaway and see if he could get the lead. I was trying to eventually get the lead myself. We got off the back straightaway and were just kind of pushing him along there and our cars sort of just didn’t match up very well. I got him hooked into the fence. I pushed Martin (Truex) a little bit in his Toyota and they matched up good. The bumpers were good, didn’t have any problem with any of the cars. That is the first time I pushed a Ford. The roll bar of the front of my car is just at the right place where his car sets right up on top of that. I sort of had him going down the back straightaway like a forklift. It was a big mess and tore up a lot of cars down here trying to work on their stuff.”
“I just feel bad for my Stanley and Richard Petty Motorsports team,” Ambrose said. “You know, I had junior pushing me. He’s just a great drafter, really can feel it well. I guess I just got caught on the edge of the bumper there and with the shaped noses and the tires, just spun me out. It was hardly even a bump. It was just enough at the wrong angle, wrong time and just went for a spin. I feel bad for everybody because quite a few cars were torn up there. But we’ll repair this one and probably build a couple new ones and get ready for Speedweeks.”
Collected in the wreck was Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Regan Smith and Carl Edwards.
The anticipation had been building as the 2013 season marks the debut of the Generation 6 car, which is part of NASCAR’s continuing work to improve the cars. The new car is meant to be safer than the Car of Tomorrow. The other main difference is NASCAR getting back to their roots as the cars look like the cars right off the street.
When it comes to the speed charts, Trevor Bayne topped the charts in the afternoon driving the No. 21 for Wood Brothers Racing. He will attempt to win his second Daytona 500 with the Wood Brothers while running the full Nationwide Series schedule for Roush Fenway Racing. Logano was second, followed by Martin Truex Jr., Mark Martin and Edwards.
In the morning, the
Richard Childress Racing fleet of cars had one goal for the morning session on Friday – full-out qualifying mode. They would tape the grill right up, bypass the oil cooler and do all those wonderful things they do just for qualifying. As a result, they led the speed charts with the top two speeds.
Jeff Burton led the way with a lap of 194.805 mph with teammate Kevin Harvick second at a speed of 193.557 mph.
Matt Kenseth continued his learning curve with Joe Gibbs Racing as he was third on the charts, four tenths off of Burton. Burton’s teammate Paul Menard and Roush Fenway driver Greg Biffle rounded out the top five.
Testing continues on Saturday, which will comprise of single car runs.