Menard, Montoya take worst of crash

It took only eight laps before the sparks flew Thursday in the first Gatorade Duel qualifying race.

Michael McDowell made contact with David Gilliland’s car, causing the No. 38 Ford to lose control and slide into Juan Pablo Montoya and Paul Menard. Brad Keselowski also received residual damage.

"The only safe place is up out front," said Menard’s crew chief, Slugger Labbe, who advised his team to pull out the backup car for Sunday.

Montoya’s car also was destroyed in the exchange.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was leading the race at the time of the accident. However, during the first round of pit stops, the No. 88 Chevrolet team had too many men over the wall and was forced to return to the pits for a drive-through penalty.