The nine-car crash Friday during practice for Sunday's Coke Zero 400 presented by Coca-Cola (Pre-Race: 7 p.m. ET on NBC | Race: 7:45 p.m. ET on NBC) forced several teams to use backup cars and remained a topic of conversation before Saturday’s qualifying session.
Eight of the nine drivers involved in the crash went to backup cars, including some who sustained only minor damage.
“The cars are so sensitive, (crew chief) Matt (McCall) just thought it was going to be better to go to a backup car,” said Jamie McMurray, whose No. 1 Chevrolet was hit from behind after Brad Keselowski tapped Kyle Busch’s car and sent it spinning during the first nine minutes of practice.
The drivers returned for the second practice session Friday, including Busch, who is racing at Daytona for the first time since his right leg was broken during a crash Feb. 21 that kept him out of racing for two months.
McMurray said he didn’t expect the backup car to be a problem in Sunday’s race.
“It’s way harder for the team than it is the drivers,” McMurray said. “The year we won the 500, we were in our third car, I believe. … It wasn’t that great of a car, and we were still able to win with it. So, I’m not really frustrated. It’s just part of plate racing and hopefully it happened today and doesn’t happen in the race.”