Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s wreck was part of a big 12-car accident at the Daytona International Speedway that essentially shut down a three-day test session designed to hone NASCAR’s redesigned cars.
The stock-car driver was trying to bump draft with Marcos Ambrose on the back straightaway when he lifted Ambrose “like a forklift” and turned him into the wall, according to the Associated Press. Ambrose’s Ford bounced back across the track and triggered a pileup that collected a host of others.
“It was a big mess and tore up a lot of cars down here trying to work on their stuff,” Earnhardt said. “Definitely the drafting is not like it used to be. You can’t really tandem certain cars; certain cars don’t match up well.”
Two of Earnhardt’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne, also were involved. So were defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski, new teammate Joey Logano, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray, Martin Truex Jr., Aric Almirola and Regan Smith.
There were no injuries, but the wreck caused several teams to leave Daytona. At least 10 teams, including Michael Waltrip Racing, Penske Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports, packed up their haulers and headed back to North Carolina.
“It is unfortunate, but sometimes you have to wreck them to learn,” Keselowski said. “The sport is rewinding. That is the important thing to say. The sport advanced to the two-car tandem three or four years ago, and there were certain things you could do then that you couldn’t do in the past without wrecking.