Wrecks blight practice sessions at Richmond

A series of crashes at Richmond International Raceway marred practice runs for the Winston Cup teams. In the day's initial session, a trio of hard hits slowed on track activities and wadded up several race cars. The first incident involved pole...

A series of crashes at Richmond International Raceway marred practice runs for the Winston Cup teams. In the day's initial session, a trio of hard hits slowed on track activities and wadded up several race cars.

The first incident involved pole winner, Mike Skinner, who rammed the No. 01 Pontiac into the front stretch wall.

"The car got a little bit too loose," said Skinner of the wreck. "The next thing I know it just snapped. Something malfunctioned in the car, or it got loose, cold tires or whatever. I really don't know why. It was a terrible hit."

Following the track clean-up that ensued after Skinner's accident, two more cars ended up on the wrecker.

Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 43 Petty Dodge, made contact with the new soft wall in turn one.

"I just lost it going into turn one," said Fittipaldi. "The car was a little bit on the free side. I just lost it."

The wrecks weren't quite over with, as Steve Park thought he would test the new soft wall in turn one as well - putting the No. 30 Chevy squarely into it.

"It just got around," said Park. "We had a problem with the brakes chattering a little bit, kind of wheel hopping. It's just unfortunate. If we can do a good job with the back-up car, we'll be alright."

All three drivers were forced to rely on back-up cars for their time trial efforts -- but the bad luck didn't end there for Skinner.

After landing his first pole since April of 2000 in his back-up machine, he crunched his second car of the day between turns one and two in the first happy hour session. The No. 01 team had to make a call to the shop in Concord, North Carolina to have a third car brought to RIR for Skinner to run.

"We're running out of cars," said Skinner. "We've got another one coming, but we just won't practice. The first time I didn't know what happened, I knew what happened this time. As soon as I hit turn one, I knew what happened. We hit oil and spun around."

It's particularly abysmal providence for the No. 01 team. At the spring event at RIR, their primary driver, Jerry Nadeau, was injured in a practice crash where he sustained critical injuries. Nadeau continues to heal from those wounds, and will sit out the remainder of this season.

Nadeau was at the track Friday to lend support to his team and witness the joy of winning the pole peppered with the dejection of having to start from the rear of the field (due to Skinner's second crash).

"I am sure he didn't mean to do it," said Nadeau. "It's one of those deals."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Steve Park , Mike Skinner , Jerry Nadeau , Christian Fittipaldi