The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Budweiser Duel qualifier was seven laps from the finish on Thursday when Denny Hamlin’s car became loose and slammed into Carl Edwards’ right rear quarter-panel.
Trevor Bayne, who led the first 35 laps, was collected in the Daytona International Speedway incident, along with Regan Smith.
“I’m good, but I took a pretty big hit there,” Edwards said.
“The 11 (of Hamlin) just lost it,” spotter Jason Hedlesky radioed to Edwards. “He just lost it on the outside and hooked you in the left corner.”
Edwards ended up on the wrecker for the fourth time during Speedweeks. He finished 22nd.
“I don’t know exactly what happened," Edwards said. "It looked like Denny got sideways and wrecked us. That is the fourth time we have wrecked since we have been down here. I told Jimmy we wrecked four times, so we have the black flag already and the race hasn’t even started. We are getting it out of our systems. Fortunately we have a really good group of guys and have a good backup car, which is our Shootout car. We will just go get ’em in the 500. I learned a lot. If we can just have a little luck I would not count our 99 team out. It will be a good race for us.”
Bayne finished 23rd. Hamlin and Smith continued in the race and finished 20th and 18th, respectively.
“That was unfortunate deal for our team,” said Bayne, who won the 2011 Daytona 500. “We had a fast car all day long. I wasn’t really close to the 11 (of Hamlin) at all. He got loose in front of us after we caught that next group and were making a run for the leaders and you can see a car turned right in front of us and it was pretty dead from there. But actually the later hit, when the 51 (of Smith) slides up — I never saw it coming – and we got another hit there. It’s unfortunate.
“Maybe we can win the 500. I don’t know. I hate to think about bringing out a backup car. I don’t think it’s something we want to do since we don’t have a lot of cars right now."