Minutes into the opening practice session for the Sprint Unlimited event on Saturday evening, five cars tangled exiting turn four. Involved were Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Chevrolet), Juan Pablo Montoya (No.42 Chevrolet), Carl Edwards (No. 99 Ford), Mark Martin (No. 55 Toyota) and Kurt Busch (No. 78 Chevrolet).
It seemed to start when Kenseth cut down on Busch, sending the latter into the outer wall. The fast-moving pack scrambled and Edwards ran into the back of Martin.
I didn’t know anyone was even close to me...
Said Kenseth, “I didn’t know anyone was even close to me, so I was trying to get a run on No. 18 (Kyle Busch) and didn’t know he (Kurt Busch) was there. I came down in front of him. They are going to fix my car.”
Edwards said, “I didn’t see anything, but two seconds before it happened my spotter told me to ‘Watch them.’ Matt probably had no clue that someone was next to me. The silver lining in this for us is that last year I came down here and sat on the pole and everything went smooth (in 500) and our year went terribly, so we hope our bad luck is out of the way.”
Martin was more sanguine. “We have plenty of race cars, as we came down here to race,” he said. “Some of the guys were smart and were going to ride around and stay out of packs.” He was alluding to the likes of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, who practiced alone.
After a short clean-up session, practice continued but pack racing seemed to have subsided.