DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Preseason Thunder testing with the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car continued on Friday at Daytona Int’l Speedway, with a crash in the afternoon session sending several race teams home early.
During single-car runs in the morning session, Richard Childress Racing’s Jeff Burton in the No. 31 Chevrolet topped the speed charts with a lap speed of 194.805 mph. Rounding out the top five were teammate Kevin Harvick (193.557), Matt Kenseth (193.121), Paul Menard (192.963) and Greg Biffle (192.719).
In the afternoon session, which included drafting sessions, speeds reached 199 mph with 2011 Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne leading the speed charts with a lap of 199.650 mph.
During the drafting session, a multi-car incident on the backstretch sent several cars to the garage. Among the drivers involved in the incident were Marcos Ambrose, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle, Joey Logano, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Regan Smith and Kasey Kahne.
“I just feel bad for my Stanley and Richard Petty Motorsports team. You know, I had (Dale Earnhardt) Jr. 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,” said Ambrose, who was the first car to crash during the incident. “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.”
The only driver involved in the crash that has a backup car is Edwards. Nearly everyone else involved in the incident will be forced to head home early because they have not yet prepared additional race cars.