Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images
By: Toby Christie – Follow on Twitter @Tobalical
In what was a very dramatic practice session for the Daytona 500, Ryan Newman kicked things off by spinning across the hood of Carl Edwards’ car, and also collected Mark Martin in the process.
The incident occurred when Newman got the air taken off of his spoiler. Newman believes the incident was caused by the “shark fin” that Sprint Cup cars have used now for a while.
“I think some of it has to do with the huge shark fin that we have on that side,” Newman said. “When you pack air up on that side it’s not going to the spoiler it’s getting blocked off from the spoiler. There are a lot of things to think about and talk about.”
Newman also weighed whether his car was fixable.
“We are going to fix it. It’s a Catch-22 we brought this car for a reason. The engine is fine; it never spun backwards all that stuff is good. We don’t think we will make it back out for the second practice, but we will be fine.”
All three teams affected will repair the primary cars, and they will not have to go to the back of the grid for their qualifying races as a result.
That wasn’t the only incident of the session, as moments later Dale Earnhardt Jr. would blow the motor in his No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet. Earnhardt’s engine issue marks the second engine failure of speedweeks for Hendrick Motorsports — the other being Juan Montoya. Earnhardt spoke to the media about his issues in this session.
“We broke a motor, it’s as simple as that. They’ll figure out what happen. I’m sure there is some logical explanation as to what happened, but, we’ll just put a new one in and start at the back of the Qualifier tomorrow, and race up through there.”
As a result of the expired engine, Earnhardt will now have to move to the back of the grid for the start of his Budweiser Duel race. The Budweiser Duels of course set the starting lineup for the 55th annual Daytona 500. Is he worried?
“No, it’s just part of racing,” he said.
The most popular driver would also go on to say that starting in the back for the Duels is not a setback.
“Not really. Everything is good. We were just making some single car runs by ourselves. Everything seemed like it was working. Just trying to find a little more speed, and we found a few things that seemed to help the car. We’ll try to get out in this next practice, and see what else we can learn, but everything should be fine.”
Michael Waltrip paced the practice session. David Ragan, Tony Stewart, Paul Menard, and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five fastest in this session — the third for the Daytona 500.
The fourth practice session for the Great American Race went way smoother. The session went incident-free, and Kasey Kahne posted the top-lap. Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Danica Patrick and Carl Edwards completed the top-five speeds in the final session of Wednesday.