New cars make for a harrowing practice round
Daytona Beach, Fla. - It took all of 15 minutes for NASCAR's new Gen-6 race car to throw drivers a few curves of its own at the first practice for the Daytona 500.
Ryan Newman lost control of his Chevrolet right in front of Carl Edwards and Mark Martin, and all three cars sustained damage. It's the third time in a week that a wreck has collected Martin, who also suffered damaged cars in a crash started by Matt Kenseth last week and another triggered by Tony Stewart in Saturday night's exhibition race.
Newman had no idea what caused him to spin.
"My car came around, I don't know if it was the air off of Carl's car or what," he said. "Carl came over and said "Hey man.' I said, "I don't even know what to tell you yet."'
The accident happened as drivers are still adjusting to the new car, a process that has been bumpy so far. Dale Earnhardt Jr. triggered a multi-car accident in January testing, Kenseth started an accident last Friday and the wreck in the exhibition race cut the 19-car field to 12.
Edwards was just as vexed as Newman.
"I was up close to Ryan and then all of a sudden his car just got a little loose and there was no space," Edwards said. "I could have given him more space, but I don't think either one of us really understands why his car got so loose. It was just all of a sudden and he was turned sideways. It's really interesting and something I'm going to be careful of during the race."
Edwards said he believes the finicky cars could contribute to an entertaining season-opening Daytona 500 on Sunday.
"Race cars are supposed to be hard to drive, it's supposed to be on the edge, you are supposed to be sliding around," Edwards said. "We as drivers, it is our responsibility to learn how to drive them."
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