Six cars were involved in a major crash during the first round of NASCAR Xfinity Series qualifying at Daytona International Speedway.
In the second of four first-round group runs, a big pack was heading into the tri-oval when Joe Gibbs Racing rookie Daniel Suarez tried to move from the bottom to the middle.
But while doing so, Suarez made contact with Blake Koch. That sent Suarez into Carlos Contreras and left several others behind them with nowhere to go.
Suarez, Koch, Contreras, Landon Cassill, Harrison Rhodes, and Tanner Berryhill were involved in the crash.
Moments after the wreck, Kyle Busch was spotted clapping sarcastically on pit road by TV cameras. He then criticized the group qualifying format in a Fox Sports interview.
“I can say a lot of things and get myself in a lot of trouble,” he said. “But I would just say that this is not what we all intended. This is not the plan. This is not what it needs to be. And somehow, someway, this just isn’t right.
“We’ve got a bunch of tore-up race cars, which we shouldn’t be doing in qualifying. You have guys now that may have speed, they may be fast enough to transfer through to the next round, but they’re wrecked now and can’t transfer through. This just ain’t right.”
JR Motorsports co-owner Kelley Earnhardt Miller also showed her frustration on Twitter:
The teams involved in the crash are now officially under the gun, as today’s NXS season opener is scheduled to go green shortly after 3:30 p.m. ET. Meanwhile, a rain shower over the track has put qualifying under a delay while jet dryers make their way around the 2.5-mile oval.
This isn’t the first time during Speedweeks that group qualifying has triggered a chorus of complaints. NASCAR made tweaks to the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series qualifying after Clint Bowyer crashed in Daytona 500 qualifying and blasted the debut of the system for the Great American Race.