Early wrecks halt Daytona 500 practice

David Caraviello

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Rookie Parker Kligerman went for a long slide on his roof after the front end of his No. 30 car got on top of the outside wall and into the catchfence as part of a multi-car crash that marred and eventually ended opening Sprint Cup Series practice Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway.

The accident appeared to begin when Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth made contact in tight drafting practice, causing a number of vehicles to go sideways. Kligerman got the worst of it, riding up and over the car of Paul Menard, and then getting pushed from behind by the vehicle of Ryan Truex. The front end of the No. 30 car slid along the top of the wall and grinder against the catchfence to the point where repairs were necessary. With Truex still behind him, Kligerman rolled over and slid on his roof before being extricated from the car.

A number of drivers were involved, including Paul Menard -- among the fastest in qualifying practice -- as well as former Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne and veteran Dave Bleney. The accident came moments after an earlier wreck involving Cole Whitt and Brian Vickers, which proved just a prelude to the bigger one to come, and forced a number of drivers into backup cars.

"Turns out Joey was bump drafting the 20 (car of Kenseth) in the middle of the pack when we were trying to getup to speed," Menard said. "I guess that's the end result."

Kligerman said he was about to pull off the track and park his car for the remainder of the session. "I thought we were good. We were going to quit for the day, probably, pack it up and and wait until tonight," Kligerman said. "I guess from what I can see, the 22 (car of Logano) was just being overly aggressive. It's a shame. He's supposed to be a veteran. You go up here to the Sprint Cup Series, and it's supposed to be the best of the best, and you've got a guy in practice who wants to race people like that like it's the end of the Daytona 500. I don't quite understand that one. I'll have to talk to him about how all that went down.

After reviewing a replay, Logano said "I guess that's partially my fault. I was probably working a little too hard there. It also seemed like one of those racing things. I thought he was going to keep going to the bottom, and instead he went to the top. One of those things that happens."

NASCAR has announced that the following will start at the rear of the Duel race Thursday night: No. 22 Joey Logano, No. 27 Paul Menard, No. 30 Parker Kligerman, No. 55 Brian Vickers, No. 77 Dave Blaney, No. 83 Ryan Truex.