Kyle Busch blew a right rear tire and crashed violently during Friday morning’s practice for Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
Busch, who was running in a pack with Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth, veered into the Turn 2 wall when the tire blew. Busch slammed into the SAFER barrier, demolishing the front end of the No. 18 Toyota. He quickly got out of the car and walked away unhurt.
Although Busch questioned the safety of the tires after the wreck, Goodyear director of racing Greg Stucker said it was caused by a gash in the tire from debris on the track.
“It doesn’t give you any confidence whatsoever in Goodyear’s ability to make a tire that’s worthwhile to go out there and race on,” said Busch, who said the tires had four laps of wear on them. “I guess we’ll just all suffer through it and hope for the best. Pretty confident in Joe Gibbs Racing and their ability to provide good race cars, not very confident in Goodyear in giving us good tires to go out there and race on and have confidence in them.”
Busch was asked if the tire had been cut.
“I couldn’t tell you,” he said.
Busch broke his leg and foot in a crash into a non-SAFER barrier part of Daytona during an Xfinity Series race in 2015.
“It wasn’t any fun, that’s for sure,” Busch said of Friday’s crash. “Your first instinct is to correct and the car automatically corrects and then finally when it hits the apron it catches and turns back the other way head-on into the fence. That was certainly a big hit, and you have to thank NASCAR for their safety advancements in the cars and the drivers’ equipment and things like that – the SAFER barrier as well, that could have been a heck of a lot worse than that what that was.”
Busch qualified third later Friday in a backup car.