Daytona Beach, FL-- A five-car crash occurred in the opening minutes of Friday's practice for the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway, forcing three drivers to use their backup cars for the preseason race.
With a pack of seven cars coming out of turn four, Matt Kenseth came down the track and made contact with Kurt Busch, triggering the incident. Busch's car slammed into the outside wall. Carl Edwards, Mark Martin and Juan Pablo Montoya were also involved in the incident.
"It was 100 percent my fault," Kenseth admitted. "I had no idea anybody was there."
Busch, Edwards and Martin will use their backup cars for Saturday night's 75- lap event at Daytona, while the teams of Kenseth and Montoya were able to make repairs to their primary vehicles.
"I didn't see anything," Edwards said of the incident. "I should have been listening to my spotter, Jason Hedleski, because he said, 'watch 'em, watch 'em' about two seconds before this happened."
Kenseth, a two-time Daytona 500 winner, including a victory in last year's race, will make his first start in the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing this weekend.
NASCAR's new Generation-6 race car is making its competition debut in the race as well. After extensive testing during the offseason, drivers and teams have been pleased with the car, and NASCAR has high hopes it will increase the competition. However, there are some unknowns about the Gen-6, particularly in race conditions.
During last month's testing at Daytona, a multi-car wreck occurred when Marcos Ambrose spun around in a pack of 18 cars after Dale Earnhardt Jr. was attempting to bump draft Ambrose on the backstretch. Twelve of the 18 cars riding in a pack at the time were involved in the accident. Drivers did notice a significant difference in the designs of the Chevrolet SS, the Ford Fusion and the Toyota Camry while bump drafting during the Daytona test.
The remainder of the first session and the whole second session of practice ran incident free. Kevin Harvick led the way in practice 1 with a lap at 197.364 mph, while Denny Hamlin, who is Kenseth's teammate at JGR, was fastest in practice 2 at 196.053 mph.