Race weekend at Daytona International Speedway got off to a bang-up start Friday.
Minutes into the first Sprint Cup practice of the day, a multicar wreck sent several drivers to backup cars for Sunday’s Coke Zero 400.
The wreck was precipitated by Ford-driving Brad Keselowski, who touched the back bumper of Kyle Busch, who spun. That caused a chain reaction behind them that included Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Michael Annett, Trevor Bayne, Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr., and Sam Hornish Jr.
“It’s (Keselowski’s) fault, and he caused it,” Busch said. “But I’ve probably been in the same boat and caused them before. It’s practice. You don’t need to be up a guy’s left rear.”
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Busch is racing at Daytona for the first time since he broke his right leg and left foot in an accident during February’s Xfinity Series race. Busch missed three months with the injuries.
Qualifying for Sunday’s race is at 4:35 p.m. Saturday.
▪ Busch’s accident in February prompted Daytona to accelerate the addition of SAFER barriers around the 2.5-mile track. Track president Joie Chitwood said Friday that soft walls have been added to the entrance and exit of pit road, as well as the Turn 4 exit and the entire backstretch. A wall near Turn 1 (where Busch wrecked in February) also has been reconfigured with SAFER barriers and tire barriers. The grassy area Busch slid through during his accident also has been paved.
▪ Chris Buescher takes a 29-point lead over Ty Dillon into Saturday’s Xfinity Series Subway Firecracker 250 (7:30 p.m., NBCSN). Buescher likes his chances the rest of the season, especially with Dillon recently switching crew chiefs with Richard Childress Racing’s No. 33 team.
“There is a comfort level from our side, knowing we have a good group of guys that have been together since the beginning of last year,” Buescher said. “The majority of them are the same people.” Qualifying for the 250 is at 2:35 p.m. Saturday.
▪ NASCAR is pulling the Xfinity and Trucks series postseason banquets from the Trump National Doral after one year at the hotel in Miami. NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said the move was precipitated by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent remarks about immigration.