Earnhardt Jr. leads wreck-marred opening practice.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — It took all of 10 minutes into Friday's opening Sprint Cup Series practice before the "big one" occurred at Daytona International Speedway.

Video replay showed contact between Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch triggered a 10-car accident that relegated eight drivers to backup cars for Sunday night's Coke Zero 400, including three of the four Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas.

Busch, his JGR teammates Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin, Chevrolet drivers Martin Truex Jr., Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman and Ford drivers Trevor Bayne and Sam Hornish Jr. all had to switch to backup cars.

"Looks like the 2-car (Keselowski) got into my left rear and he got away unscathed and crashed everybody else's stuff," Busch said after looking at a video replay of the incident.

"It's frustrating, it's not at all what these guys pour all their blood, sweat and tears into preparing cars. We wreck in practice, that's not very smart. The 2-car just spun us around. There's room to lift but some people don't.

"It sucks a guy that started it all got away unscathed."

But, Busch conceded, "It's his fault he caused it, but I've probably been in the same boat and caused one before. It's just not that time to go (so early in practice)."

Following the first of the day's two 55-minute practices, Keselowski surveyed the bodywork on his No. 2 Ford and wondered aloud if he actually made contact with Busch. He conceded it doesn't take much, however.

"First off, it stinks seeing cars get torn up," Keselowski said. "I had a run on Kyle. … and Greg Biffle right on my butt so I wanted to go back down low. I went to go down low and Kyle started to come down. I had Greg there and I ran into the back of Kyle.

"Just flat out ran into the back of him. All the timing was off. I'm not sure if I even hit him that hard and looking at the front of my car, not sure if I hit him at all. I'm sure it looked that way, though.

"It's just a bummer to see cars get torn up. … it stinks. It's one of those deals here at Daytona. You race so close. This July race it doesn't race like the February race and when you bump in the corners that's what happens."

Newman, who was helplessly caught up in the melee, spoke to Busch in the garage, curious as to what actually happened. The veteran could only shake his head as he watched his crew roll his backup No. 31 Caterpillar Chevy off the truck.

"Not sure what happened, but it doesn't surprise me at all," the 2008 Daytona 500 winner Newman said. "We were in a different mode of going out there and practicing and learning a little bit. It doesn't change to much for us, we'll have the backup out there for the second session and we were going to do some single car runs anyway.

"It's nothing spectacular other than we have a torn-up race car that didn't need to be."

Two-time Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fastest in opening practice with a best lap of 202.285 mph in the No. 88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevy. Austin Dillon, Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard and Bayne rounded out the top five.

Another Daytona 500 winner, Jamie McMurray was as much philosophic as frustrated as he waited for the team to get his backup No. 1 McDonald's Chevrolet ready to drive.

"I think it's way harder for the team than it is the driver," McMurray said of Friday's circumstances. "The year (2010) we won the (Daytona) 500 we were on our third car.

"I'm not really frustrated, it's part of plate racing and hopefully it just happened today and doesn't during the race."

NASCAR.com

Full Results

POS # Driver Sponsor Best Speed Best Time Behind
1 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr NATIONWIDE STARS AND STRIPES 202.284 44.492 Leader
2 3 Austin Dillon Bass Pro Shops 202.066 44.540 –0.048
3 15 Clint Bowyer 5-Hour Energy 201.993 44.556 –0.064
4 27 Paul Menard Nibco / Menards 201.970 44.561 –0.069
5 6 Trevor Bayne Advocare Ford Fusion 201.875 44.582 –0.090
6 38 David Gilliland Florida Lottery 201.807 44.597 –0.105
7 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger/Better Than Bouillon 201.739 44.612 –0.120
8 55 David Ragan Aaron's Dream Machine 201.450 44.676 –0.184
9 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald's 200.812 44.818 –0.326
10 5 Kasey Kahne GREAT CLIPS-SHARK WEEK 200.794 44.822 –0.330
11 9 Sam Hornish Jr Twisted Tea 200.638 44.857 –0.365
12 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Patriotic 200.597 44.866 –0.374
13 18 Kyle Busch Interstate Batteries 200.566 44.873 –0.381
14 34 Brett Moffitt CSX Play It Safe 200.138 44.969 –0.477
15 13 Casey Mears No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS 199.907 45.021 –0.529
16 42 Kyle Larson Coca-Cola 199.880 45.027 –0.535
17 31 Ryan Newman Grainger 199.809 45.043 –0.551
18 46 Michael Annett Pilot Flying J 199.747 45.057 –0.565
19 20 Matt Kenseth #20 DEWALT Made in USA Toyota Camry 199.720 45.063 –0.571
20 78 Martin Truex Jr Furniture Row/Visser Precision 199.720 45.063 –0.571
21 51 Justin Allgaier TradeMark Nitrogen 199.610 45.088 –0.596
22 21 Ryan Blaney Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 199.481 45.117 –0.625
23 40 Landon Cassill Snap Fitness 199.402 45.135 –0.643
24 24 Jeff Gordon Axalta 199.119 45.199 –0.707
25 19 Carl Edwards Subway 198.948 45.238 –0.746
26 16 Greg Biffle Cheez-It Ford Fusion 198.930 45.242 –0.750
27 33 Brian Scott Shore Lodge 198.873 45.255 –0.763
28 10 Danica Patrick GoDaddy 198.834 45.264 –0.772
29 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation 198.803 45.271 –0.779
30 35 Cole Whitt Speed Stick 198.711 45.292 –0.800
31 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Fifth Third Bank Ford Fusion 198.461 45.349 –0.857
32 14 Tony Stewart Bass Pro Shops 198.443 45.353 –0.861
33 2 Brad Keselowski Alliance Truck Parts 198.413 45.360 –0.868
34 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil 198.286 45.389 –0.897
35 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's/ Budweiser 198.111 45.429 –0.937
36 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Ground 197.902 45.477 –0.985
37 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield 195.550 46.024 –1.532
38 95 Michael McDowell KLOVE Radio 191.746 46.937 –2.445
39 7 Alex Bowman Golden Corral 189.761 47.428 –2.936
40 32 Bobby Labonte C&J Energy Services 189.187 47.572 –3.080
41 23 J.J. Yeley Dr Pepper 188.652 47.707 –3.215
42 26 Jeb Burton Maxim 187.739 47.939 –3.447
43 83 Matt DiBenedetto Dustless Blasting 187.348 48.039 –3.547
44 62 Brendan Gaughan VYDOX Plus 0.000 0.000 44.492

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