Denny Hamlin blamed the four-car accident on lap 54 of the first Budweiser Duel on momentum and having nowhere to go after Casey Mears threw a block coming out of turn 2. The end result was Hamlin bobbling in the middle of the pack and tagging Carl Edwards.
"We got in a five-car pack and we came up on (Mears) and (Edwards) and I think they were trying to figure out a way to keep us back there and stop our momentum. We all had a big head of steam up top. The no. 99 just came up a hair and I came down a little bit and once I got the right-rear, I got loose and turned him and got the no. 21 involved.”
Hamlin’s car suffered a little bit of cosmetic damage but the team will not have to go to a backup car.
"Fortunately, for us we just have to replace half the nose -- this car will be fine,” Hamlin said. We hit nothing in the steering. We're just looking for more side-by-side racing in the 500. Obviously guys running the top line single file in the first Duel will probably set the tone for that kind of racing in the second."
Despite running in the Sprint Unlimited and the qualifying race, Hamlin still doesn’t know what to expect in Sunday's Daytona 500.
"It's tough to say,” Hamlin said. “These positions that these cars are getting in are really putting the cars in vulnerable spots. We saw that you really can't get close to each other side-by-side in the corners because if one of the cars gets loose.
“That's something we’re really going to have to be aware of moving forward.”
Hamlin completed his Duel and finished in 20th.