If opening practice was an indication, Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the Charlotte Road Course might be even more chaotic than predicted.
During a session with a non-stop succession of incidents, the right side of Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota jumped two feet off the pavement when Hamlin rolled over the six-inch-high “turtles” (prohibitive curbing) in the backstretch chicane.
Bubba Wallace spun his No. 43 Chevrolet, then spun again. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. went for a wild ride, smacking the wall in Turns 3 and 4 with the rear of his No. 17 Ford. Kyle Busch scraped the tire barrier at the exit from Bus Stop.
And those were just the highlights of the first 20 minutes.
Playoff driver Austin Dillon sustained the most visible damage while making a mock qualifying run. His No. 3 Chevrolet slid at the entry to the Bus Stop, and before Dillon could regain control, the left front of the car clobbered the tire barrier, peeling back the front fender like the top of a sardine can.
“Tried to get too much,” Dillon acknowledged on the radio, an indication that the search for speed on a brand new track might have some dire consequences during Sunday’s race (2 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
“I’m trying to hit every corner here before the race starts,” Dillon quipped later. “I have two or three out of the way, but there’s a couple left.”