DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- An accident 30 minutes into practice Wednesday for the Daytona 500 saw one driver flip and slide across the infield on his roof at Daytona International Speedway.
All drivers involved escaped injury, including Parker Kligerman, the driver who got airborne and ended upside down. The accident damaged the catch fence along the front straightaway along with the SAFER barrier, necessitating the end of practice as track workers made repairs. Daytona officials in a statement said the fence performed as it was designed to do. Track workers repaired a cable in addition to meshing before the start of a second practice at 6:15 p.m. ET.
A piece of debris from one of the cars flew into the lower section of the grandstand, but no spectators were injured according to a NASCAR spokesman.
The incident was reminiscent of the crash a year ago on the final lap of the Nationwide Series race at Daytona, when Kyle Larson took flight and flipped wildly in nearly the exact same spot. Debris from that crash injured 29 spectators, with some having to be transported to a local hospital for various injuries.
The mayhem Wednesday began as a group of cars barreled three-wide off Turn 4. Joey Logano made contact with the rear of Matt Kenseth, which sent Logano into the side of Paul Menard. Altogether, the cars of Logano, Kligerman, Menard, Dave Blaney and Ryan Truex suffered extensive damage.
"It's the first time I ever flipped over," Kligerman said. "I've never done that before in a race car. I assumed that it would be rougher, but it was actually really soft. I saw the whole thing go down. I'm up in the fence kind of floating along."
Logano took the brunt of the blame with Kligerman, a rookie, citing the veteran's overaggressiveness in the opening moments. Kligerman will be forced to a backup car for Thursday's Duel qualifying races for Sunday's Daytona 500, as will Logano, Menard and Truex.
Blaney's team does not have a backup car but is working to secure one from Penske Racing, team officials told SB Nation.
"It looks like the No. 22 (Logano) was just being overly aggressive," Kligerman said. "I want to talk to him about it. I think Paul and I had the same opinion there -- just what are you doing and why are you side-drafting and bumping people in the first drafting practice we've done all week."