Two drivers will be in back up cars, one was forced to skip qualifying and another was lucky to come through relatively unscathed. That’s the aftermath of Friday’s first, and lone, NASCAR Cup practice session at Texas Motor Speedway.
The session was the first time drivers had the opportunity to test out the new pavement at the 1.5-mile speedway. The issues happened at both ends of the speedway not just the reconfigured turns 1 and 2.
The trouble began early in the 2.5 hour session. Denny Hamlin was entering turn 1 when his Toyota broke loose; the Joe Gibbs Racing driver was able to keep the car off the wall and he went to the garage needing only new tires.
With 42 minutes left, Kyle Busch got loose on the exit of turn 2, with the back of the Toyota just brushing the outside wall. He too, made it back to the garage with very little damage. The team debated whether to go to a back-up car, eventually deciding to keep the primary car but electing to skip qualifying later in the day. Busch will start from the rear of the field.
Erik Jones and Chase Elliott weren’t so lucky.
With 22 minutes left, Jones was coming to the start-finish line for his second mock qualifying lap after being in the top five on the time chart when in race trim. Entering turn 4 his Toyota went up the track and into the wall hard.
“Yeah, I thought after the first run I felt pretty comfortable on our qualifying run and just thought I could get a little bit more and coming up in speed,” Jones said. “I thought we could hold it wide open and it just didn’t have it in it, so I got up out of the groove and once I got up into the gray it just took off. It’s unfortunate – the 5-hour ENERGY Camry had a lot of speed in it, but we’ll just have get the backup out and hopefully it will be just as good.” READ MORE>>>