Within laps of each other, Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch both suffered mechanical failures, as the leader, leaving Denny Hamlin as the sole Gibbs car in contention for the Daytona 500 victory.
Kenseth was the first car to blow up but his team hasn't diagnosed the issue yet. They still haven't counted out repairing the car and turning some more laps.
"It's a transmission or engine and if it's the transmission we can get that fixed and get back out there," Kenseth said. Obviously, if it's an engine, our day is done. What a disappointing end to a great day... We had one of the cars to beat and I think we'll be a force to be reckoned with.
Just one lap after Kenseth pulled down pit road, Busch began smoking too. It was one of the first things Kenseth saw as soon as he climbed out of his car.
"Yeah, I saw the no. 18 come in but I don't know what happened to him. We have to work to make it to the end of these races if we're going to win a championship but we have a good team here and I'm proud to be a part of this group."
Busch's issue appears to be different from Kenseth's with the no. 18 appearing to be out of the race. Busch had won the second Budweiser Duel qualifying race while Kenseth had led the most laps.
It's unfortunate," Busch said. "We were all running 1-2-3. Matt's problems appear to be a separate issue but we were all very fast. We were back-to-back and I thought we were dropping like flies. Something in the motor broke. It's just a shame to be that close to our final stop and have something happen. We're rooting for the no. 11 to bring it home for Joe Gibbs Racing now."
Another Toyota, driven by Martin Truex Jr. suffered a mechanical failure on lap 175.