SPEEDWAY, Ind. – Defending Crown Royal 400 race winner Kyle Busch narrowly avoided a major catastrophe during opening practice on Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s race (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN).
Closing fast on the No. 32 GoFas Racing Ford driven by Patrick Carpentier, Busch caught the car at the end of the short chute between Turns 1 and 2. Carpentier steered down the track, pinching Busch’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota on the apron.
Busch spun, as the right side of his Camry collided with Carpentier’s Ford, but Busch was able to steer his car away from the inside wall and avoided further damage.
Carpentier acknowledged he had failed to yield the racing line to a faster car.
“Kyle was a little bit further back down the (front) straightaway and I was like, ‘Do I lift to let him by?’” said Carpentier, whose car escaped unscathed. “He was still quite far away, but he closed in pretty quickly.
“I didn’t think he was going to go in there, but it was my bad. I should have let him go in between both corners, but that’s why I went and apologized to him.”
Carpentier hasn’t competed in a NASCAR race on an oval track since 2011, and Busch didn’t appear particularly receptive when the Canadian driver paid a visit to the No. 18 garage stall to offer his mea culpa.
“He was not very talkative, but that’s to be expected,” Carpentier said. “I guess that’s racing, but it’s just sad that it happened in practice. I wish I would have let him by, but I just wanted to get some laps and some runs.
“A couple of laps before I let Ryan Newman by in between (Turns) 1 and 2, and that went pretty well, and I should have done that with Kyle. Like I told him, ‘The next time, I’ll do it.’”