Mul­ticar crash mars first prac­tice

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

DAY­TONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — If the first prac­tice is any in­di­ca­tion, Speed­weeks could be filled with ag­gres­sive driv­ing, big wrecks and backup cars.

An on-track tan­gle be­tween Mark Martin and Denny Ham­lin trig­gered a seven-car ac­ci­dent Thurs­day that may set the tone for two weeks of ramped-up racing at Day­tona In­ter­na­tional Speed­way.

“ Trust me, we’re not fin­ished,” said Greg Bif­fle, who was in­volved in the wreck.

Jamie McMur­ray, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer also were part of the melee, which hap­pened half­way into the first prac­tice for the Bud­weiser Shootout.

Martin was in front of Ham­lin in a pack of cars when Ham­lin hooked the rear of Martin’s car. The con­tact turned Martin into the wall. Ham­lin and Martin agreed that the wreck started be­cause each driver an­tic­i­pated the other do­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent.

“ Ul­ti­mately, every­one’s out there jock­ey­ing for po­si­tion and ev­ery­thing to find out what their car can do,” Ham­lin said. “I mean, it’s hairy out there for sure, and those things are go­ing to hap­pen when­ever you’re run­ning that close and there’s mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion, you’re go­ing to have guys run­ning into each other.”

Ham­lin, Martin, Bif­fle, McMur­ray and Bowyer — driv­ing in place of Kevin Har­vick, who missed prac­tice be­cause of flu­like symp­toms — were forced into backup cars for the Satur­day night ex­hi­bi­tion race that kicks off Speed­weeks.

“It’s a huge dis­ap­point­ment,” Martin said. “I feel for my team, to be down a car al­ready. It’s not a good way to start off Speed­weeks. I was re­ally happy with my car there and I wish that we wouldn’t have torn it up.” It could be just the beginning. Last month, NASCAR re­laxed its rules on bump-draft­ing and gave driv­ers per­mis­sion to be more ag­gres­sive on the track. When Ham­lin hit Martin, he was be­ing pushed hard from be­hind by Logano in a tight line of cars.

The re­laxed rules could lead to more in­tense racing.

“ Yeah, it’s ag­gres­sive bump­draft­ing,” Bif­fle said. “ That’s what we were looking for — ag­gres­sive bump-draft­ing.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.