Daytona Practice High Speed Melee
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. — Friday's practice for tonight's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway went from wide-open to wild crash in a matter of seconds. The full-track session was barely a half-hour old when Tony Stewart turned Kurt Busch in the middle of the pack and a high-speed fracas sent several drivers to backup cars for Saturday night's Shootout.
"I was pushing the 51 car [Busch] and he had to move a little bit," Stewart said. "But I'm still the one pushing him so I'm responsible for it."
"It was just a deal where Tony was trying to help, we were just trying to learn the draft and a couple of slow cars were emerging in front of us and I slid up to go around them," Busch said. "I thought it was smooth but I got turned around."
Also caught up in the crash, Brad Keselowski had a benign view of the events.
"Some guys in front of me got together, it's just the way it is," Keselowski said. "It's the first time that we get back on the track and everybody is aggressive, learning what the limits are. Sometimes you get caught up in that. It's better to do it now than next Sunday [in the Daytona 500]. We'll learn something from it."
His new teammate A.J. Allmendinger agreed.
"Everybody is getting the feel of it out there," Allmendinger said of his first practice as a Penske Racing driver. "The 51 car was moving around a lot — he was three-wide a couple of times. I kind of got through the middle of the three-wide pack and thought that we were OK. When you're pushing somebody and you just get off-centered to the left side of the car, it's going to turn it. To me, that's what happened and after that, I was just behind it."
Tony Stewart's crew immediately set to work to repair his car, with no plans for any more practice. Keselowski, Allmendinger and Kurt Busch didn't plan to practice in the second session.
Lineup for the Budweiser Shootout.
Tonight at 8:00 pm, Fox Sports