Toyota NSCS drivers commented out about the practice incident at Daytona

BRIAN VICKERS: "The 26 just went up the track, hit the wall and then 26 got into the 13 (Casey Mears)..."

BRIAN VICKERS, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing

What happened in the practice incident? “That’s just not how you wanted to start the day out. We’ve still got a lot of racing left to do and we had a good car.

Huge wreck for Parker Kligerman
Huge wreck for Parker Kligerman

Photo by: Covy Moore

The guys worked so hard on it. I just hate it for everyone on this Aaron’s team who put so much into that car. Fortunately we’ve got another backup. I haven’t seen the replay yet -- I think the 26 (Cole Whitt) -- I don’t know if he just lost it. The 26 just went up the track, hit the wall and then 26 got into the 13 (Casey Mears). I didn’t know he was still inside. It just all happened so quick. Again, I don’t know what happened to the 26 so I can’t say. I don’t know if he lost a tire or what happened -- you’re going to have to ask him, but unfortunately it ruined a really good car for us.”

MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

What happened from your point of view? “It kind of started when we were all just kind of running two-wide and the 5 (Kasey Kahne) and the 27 (Paul Menard) were merging and we got by the 5 okay and I couldn’t clear the 27. So anyway, it kind of got tight getting into (turn) three because I think I was under maybe the 1 (Jamie McMurray) car and I don’t think he knew we were three-wide and it was kind of tight. Anyway, we just all lost a lot of speed and I got off (turn) four and I was just staying straight and I guess that was when the 22 (Joey Logano) car got close to me. He got right on me and moved my car to the left a little bit and I still straightened out and we had plenty of room for everybody. Then he kind of clipped my right rear somehow and that seemed to trigger and he had to slow down a little bit after that and that seemed to trigger the wreck -- it looked like anyway”

Do you race this hard in practice to get ready for Thursday night’s Duels? “I mean, you don’t want to wreck in practice for sure. We needed to get some laps today and a lot of guys waited for the second practice when the track had more grip, kind of more conditions like we’re going to race Thursday night. Honestly, that last lap and a half I was just trying to figure out how to get out of there and get to the pits, but you know when you’re stuck in the middle you kind of got to wait until everything clears out to get out of there. So, I was trying to just keep it straight and try to leave everybody room on both sides and get through there until we got to a little safer looking situation.”

Did your race car get damaged in the incident? “No, we weren’t in the wreck. Just barely scraped the right rear.”

PARKER KLIGERMAN, No. 30 Swan Energy Toyota Camry, Swan Racing

What happened in the accident? “I was going into (turn) three and trying to back out of the draft. We were good and we were going to quit for the day -- just pack it up and wait for tomorrow or tonight. I guess from what I could see, the 22 (Joey Logano) was just being overly aggressive and 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 have a guy who in practice is racing people like that -- like it’s the last lap of the Daytona 500, meanwhile I came out of Truck practice and we were running three or four-wide no problem. I don’t quite understand that one, I’ll have to talk to him about that. I’m pretty upset about how all that went down. For Swan Racing, we have to look at our backup situation. I know we have backup cars, it’s just not as good as that race car. We’ll do the best we can to go get in this 500 and have a great finish and start this season on a better note than this.”

What did you see unfold that caused the accident? “It looks like the 22 (Joey Logano) was just being overly aggressive. I want to talk to him about it. I think Paul (Menard) and I had the same opinion there -- just what are you doing and why are you side-drafting and bumping people in the first drafting practice we’ve done all week. For us, I was actually backing out of the draft right there and was like trying to get out of it as that all went down. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. We were going to pack up until the night time so I’m really upset about that. I don’t think anyone should -- you’re not learning anything racing like that in practice. For us, the backup situation is that we’ve got backups and all that stuff -- I’m not worried about that. That was just a really good race car that these guys worked on all off-season. Really came down here with a good amount of speed in the draft. We came from the back of that draft all the way to the front and was really proud of our No. 30 Swan Energy Toyota.”

What was the ride like on your roof? “It’s the first time I ever flipped over. I’ve never done that before in a race car. I assumed that it would be rougher, but it was actually really soft. I saw the whole thing go down. I’m up in the fence kind of floating along and thankfully none of the fans got injured, I hope. That’s obviously a scary situation when a car gets that close to the fence. Then it just flipped over softly and I slid on the roof. I guess the strongest thing going through me was anger at that time -- that we were wrecked. Most importantly, that the fans are okay and I’m okay and everyone is okay.”

How will you approach the Duels in the backup car? “We’re 33rd in owner’s points so we have a little bit of breathing room. I think everyone struggles to perfectly understand how you get in this race, especially for the first time. I think our race car should have enough speed. I saw some way slower cars able to hang in the pack there so hopefully we can have speed that we had there and be fine in the Duel and be in the top-15. If not, we’ve got that 33rd in owner’s points and last year the last car to get in on owner’s points was 39th. I think we’re somewhat safe, but we still can’t rest on our laurels.”

RYAN TRUEX, No. 83 Borla Exhaust Toyota Camry, BK Racing

What happened in the accident? “First of all, our car was really good. We didn’t have a lot of speed yesterday in single car runs so I wasn’t sure what to expect. We were running the draft really well. We were behind the 22 (Joey Logano) for a while and 15 (Clint Bowyer) and guys like that so I was really impressed with the car. We were just riding. I’m just trying to learn this pack racing in Cup, I’ve never done it before in the Cup car. I don’t know, it seemed like people were getting a little aggressive out there and one thing led to another. I thought I had it missed, I was checking up and I’m not sure if I got hit from behind or what, but we just got collected and we didn’t deserve that at all. We have to race our way into the 500 and it’s really important for me to make it in this race. It’s my first try and I want it to be my first start too. We’ll pull out the backup and hopefully it’s as fast as our primary.”

Did you see someone driving aggressively? “I don’t know -- I don’t want to place blame or point a finger. I don’t know enough about pack racing in these Cup cars to really say this guy did that wrong or this guy did that wrong -- it’s part of superspeedway racing sometimes. You’re working with inches, not feet and everybody is so close together, it’s so easy to make a mistake and once cars start spinning, especially in the tri-oval when you’re up against the wall it’s really hard to miss. It’s hard to really place blame, it just sucks to get taken out that early in practice.”

How much pressure do you feel for the Duels? “The pressure has been on since I signed with these guys. I put a lot of pressure on myself just to go out and perform. We can only do as much as we can. They built a brand new race car and it was really nice and they put a lot of hard work into it and a lot of overtime so I hate to go out and destroy it like that. I’m sure the backup will be good and at the end of the day all you can do is go out and give 100 percent and hopefully that’s enough to make us in.”

Toyota Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Casey Mears , Jamie McMurray , Kasey Kahne , Paul Menard , Clint Bowyer , Joey Logano , Cole Whitt , Parker Kligerman
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing , BK Racing , Toyota Racing
Article type Practice report
Tags brian vickers, matt kenseth, nascar-cup, parker kligerman, ryan truex, toyota racing