DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – It appears that pack racing is back at Daytona International Speedway and with it, "The Big One."
At least seven cars were involved in a wreck during practice for Saturday night's Bud Shootout. Those involved were Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, AJ Allmendinger, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Keselowski and Allmendinger were forced to go to backup cars.
The incident came 45 minutes into the practice session when Stewart clipped the back of Kurt Busch's No. 51, setting off the minor melee. Prior to the wreck, the cars were traveling in a giant pack, which is a departure from the tandem racing that emerged during last year's Daytona 500.
"I was pushing the 51 car and he had to move a little bit, but I'm still the one pushing him so I'm responsible for it," Stewart explained.
Said Busch: "It was just a deal where Tony was trying to help. And we were just trying to learn the draft and a couple of slow cars were emerging in front of us and I slid up to go around them and I thought it was smooth but I got turned around."
The wreck is particularly damaging for Kurt Busch, who this season is racing for the under-funded Phoenix Racing. During Thursday's media session, Busch stressed how important it is for him to take care of his equipment because the team doesn't have a fleet of cars to fall back on. This was evident as the team prepared the new car by unbolting the seat from Busch's primary car.
"These guys have worked really hard to try to prepare as many cars as we can just to prepare for circumstances like this," Busch said. "There is just a lot of hard work and with the limited number of cars that we have, we just don't need to have wrecked cars."