Both Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Blaney were in the wrong place at the wrong time Thursday night and now they will both race backup cars in Sunday’s 59th annual Daytona 500 (2 p.m. ET, FOX).
In Thursday night’s second Can-Am Duel 150 Daytona 500 qualifying race, both drivers were caught up in the same accident. It happened in Turn 3, just past the halfway point, when David Ragan tagged Johnson, who in turn hit Blaney, damaging both cars.
So on Sunday, both Blaney and Johnson will start the Daytona 500 in backup cars, which means they’ll have to drop to the back of the 40-car field before taking the green flag.
“The car suffered damage on both sides,” said Jeremy Bullins, the crew chief for Blaney and the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford. “If it had just been one side we could have fixed it but we would have spent most of our time getting ready for the 500 fixing the damage. Our backup car is a brand new car and we felt like that our best odds to getting back to the front of this thing was to use that car.”
Historically, Daytona 500 backup cars aren’t as good as primary cars, but Bullins said he was confident about the No. 21.
“With Team Penske alliance we have access to all their stuff, so we have really good cars,” said Bullins. “These guys take a lot of pride in the finishing touches and trying to get every little bit out of it that we can. We worked really hard getting every bit of speed out of it and it showed last night.”