It wasn’t long before a couple of the sport’s biggest teams found trouble at Kentucky Speedway.
Jimmie Johnson, who hit the wall in practice resulting in him going to a back-up car, lost the rear of his No. 48 Chevrolet in Turn 4 on lap 33 in Saturday’s Quaker State 400. As he backed into the outside wall, Johnson took to the garage to repair damage.
On the ensuing restart, Joey Logano‘s No. 22 tagged the Turn 4 wall while racing teammate Brad Keselowski. By lap 50, Logano fell outside the top 15 as he struggled heavily to maintain pace with the rear-end damage.
Then on lap 53, Logano cut a tire and slammed into the Turn 3 wall, bringing the Team Penske entry into the garage area.
“I assume I overheated the bead then hit the wall,” Logano said. “Unfortunate for out Shell/Pennzoil team. I hit a ton.”
“We got loose and hit the wall about 10 before that and the car got really loose and knocked the right-rear quarter over,” Logano said. “Trying to slow down a lot, the brakes started going away and I don’t know what happened after that – if a rotor blew up or what made the tire go down – but the right-front went flat and I was pretty much along for the ride after that. Hit a ton.”
Logano was appreciative of NASCAR’s safety following the crash.
“I’m pretty impressed by the safety of these race cars. That was one of the hardest hits I’ve had in a while. I had a long time to look at the wall before I hit it, and didn’t really slow down much before I got there. I’m alright, so that’s pretty cool to get through that.”
Johnson and Logano were just two of many drivers to crash out early in an attrition-filled opening 100 laps.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. collided with the outside wall on lap 11, ending his night early. Matt DiBenedetto suffered the same fate on lap 79. Rookies Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney each crashed on twin spins on lap 87, and a group including Brian Scott, Chris Buescher, A.J. Allmendinger and Ty Dillon were involved in a melee as Scott’s machine backfired on the 1.5-mile oval’s backstretch.
As it turns out, even the fans weren’t safe, as a truck in the parking lot came ablaze.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) July 10, 2016
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