The first Budweiser Duel qualifying race was marred by yet another multicar accident that was triggered on lap 54 when Denny Hamlin inexplicably lost control of his car coming off turn two and collected Carl Edwards, Trevor Bayne and Regan Smith.
Hamlin’s car suddenly bobbled and tagged the Ford of Edwards and sent him sideways while Bayne, with nowhere else to go, plowed right into Edwards. Smith was also dragged into the melee. Like his accident with Ryan Newman on Wednesday, Edwards is at a total loss for what has caused these cars to remain so unstable.
“I don’t know what happened,” Edwards said. “It looked like Denny got sideways and wrecked us. That is the fourth time we’ve wrecked since we’ve been down here. I told Jimmy we wrecked four times, we have the black flag already and the race hasn’t even started.
“We’re just going to get 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.”
Meanwhile, Trevor Bayne wasn’t sure what his team will decide to do but remained confident in the quality of race cars the Wood Brothers team would provide the 2011 Daytona 500 champion.
“I believe (the backup) was our primary we tested with,” Bayne said. “Our best car was the one we were qualifying and racing right there. I know they can build consistent fast race cars. This just didn’t end the way we wanted to for sure.”
The accident continued the trend of accidents every time the drivers have drafted with the new car since preseason testing. Hamlin and Smith continued in the race and finished 20th and 18th, respectively. Bayne finished 23rd.