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Early practice crash hits first race weekend

A multi-car accident sparked by Matt Kenseth occurred less than ten minutes into the first practice session at Daytona on Friday ahead of this week's Sprint Unlimited.
This weekend will see a select group of Sprint Cup drivers in race action for the first time in 2013, as they compete in the Sprint Unlimited exhibition event at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday evening.

It'll be the first time the Generation 6 Cup cars have been in proper race action after a winter of testing and development for the new-style equipment, but unfamiliarity with the handling of the new cars wasn't a contributory factor to the early crash during Friday's practice session that ended up damaging five competitors' cars less than ten minutes in.

“That was 100 percent driver error," admitted Matt Kenseth afterwards. "My driver error."

Kenseth was exiting turn 4 on the 2.5-mile track and moved down without realising that Kurt Busch was underneath him. The two cars collided, turning the #78 into the wall and sparking an accident that also caught up Juan Montoya, Mark Martin and Carl Edwards. Busch, Martin and Edwards all needed to resort to their back-up cars for the rest of the weekend as a result of the damage incurred.

“I had no idea anybody was there, and he had a run at the same time, and I came down in front of him, and he couldn't get slowed up from staying out of me,” explained Kenseth, who insisted that the new Gen 6 cars had nothing to do with the incident. "It doesn't matter what kind of car you're driving: you drive down in front of somebody, they're going to hit you."

"I feel bad that it happened," he added. "It seems like the cars are real good. My car was real fast before I tore it up."

Busch explained that it had been a simple misunderstanding between two drivers. "Matt went high, and I think he expected me to go with him. I went low to go with Kyle, and I think Matt came across our nose," he said, adding that it was a tough break to already be reporting to the Furniture Row Racing back-up car this early in Daytona Speedweeks.

"A lot of hard work goes into these cars, and six week's preparation can be trashed in six laps," he said. "It's tough."

Carl Edwards was more philosophical about the incident, hoping that early bad luck at Daytona might prove to be a good omen longer term for the 2013 Sprint Cup championship overall.

"Last year we came down here and we sat on the pole for the 500, and everything was cool and smooth and our year went terrible,” Edwards explained. "Hopefully, this is all our bad luck!"

Kevin Harvick went on to top that practice session's timesheets with a lap of 45.601s (197.364mph). The second session was a quieter affair with only 12 cars at work and most making solo runs rather than trying to simulate race pack drafting conditions, and consequently Denny Hamlin's lap of 45.906s (196.053mph) was slower in the cooler twilight conditions. (See full results.)

The Sprint Unlimited is not part of the regular Sprint Cup championship, which begins next weekend with the Daytona 500. It is an exhibition race only, with entry limited to drivers who won a Cup pole position in 2012 and to previous winners of the event.




Related Pictures

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Drivers during the first day of practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet is involved in an on track incident during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Damage seen on the #20 Dollar General Toyota, driven by Matt Kenseth, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Damage seen on the #78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet, driven by Kurt Busch during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Comcast Business Toyota, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualifies for seventh position Friday, April 17, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Busch is 21st in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag for the running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 11, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, poses after winning the Coors Light Pole Award during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 10, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, poses after winning the Coors Light Pole Award during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 10, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 AXE Chevrolet, goes through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 10, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, goes through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 10, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Chevrolet, drives through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 10, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the # 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s ChevroletSS, qualifies for second position Friday, April 10, 2015 for Saturday night`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Joining Harvick on the front row will be Pole winner Kurt Busch, driver of the # 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the # 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, won the Pole Friday, April 10, 2015 for Saturday night`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Joining Busch on the front row will be Kevin Harvick, driver of the # 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS who qualified second. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the # 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, won the Pole Friday, April 10, 2015 for Saturday night`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Joining Busch on the front row will be Kevin Harvick, driver of the # 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS who qualified second. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, finishes in sixth place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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