DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Defending Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch was OK after an apparent cut tire resulted in a hard crash Friday during practice at Daytona International Speedway.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver was running in a small pack of cars practicing for the Coke Zero 400 when the right rear tire blew near the exit of Turn 2. The car fishtailed before turning hard right and making near 90-degree contact with the outside SAFER Barrier.
Busch walked out of his car and was evaluated and released from the infield care center. He said the tire blew after just four laps on the track, and Goodyear reported that the tire had a gash in it, meaning Busch likely ran over something on the track.
He will have to go to a backup car for the race Saturday. He will be able to start where he qualifies Friday afternoon because he will use that backup car for qualifying today.
"It was a huge impact," Busch said. "I thank NASCAR for all their advancements in the safety aspects of the car in the things that drivers wear and the SAFER Barriers as well today. That could have been a heck of a lot uglier than what it was.
"I'm pretty confident in Joe Gibbs Racing and their ability to build good race cars. I'm not very confident in Goodyear in giving us good tires to go out there and race on."
Busch was right to have confidence in the JGR cars. He posted the third-best speed in the final round of qualifying in his backup car for a solid starting spot Saturday. He also said his rant on Goodyear was more about issues he has had this season than just Friday morning.
"We've had a lot of tire issues this year -- that [was] probably four, five or six tires that we've blown this year," he said. "That's what is the most frustrating part of it is.
"We also did the tire test at Kentucky [last month] and didn't necessarily have the best results. Goodyear probably didn't deserve what they got from me earlier today, but that's just from earlier today."
At least a frustrating day ended well.
"I felt pretty good with what we had right there [in qualifying]," Busch said. "I feel like we've got a good base. As far as what kind of pack car or drafting-type car, it will take a little bit to kind of figure that out. But the balance was fine and the drivability was fine."