After just a handful of minutes passed in Sprint Cup Series opening practice, Danica Patrick had a rear gear failure down the frontstretch that involved her owner Tony Stewart as well as Jamie McMurray.
The No. 10 machine laid down a ton of oil on the racetrack that took over a half hour to cleanup. At the moment of caution she had the 16th quickest time.
“I just got back to the throttle and lost power to the engine and it spun sideways,” Patrick said. “There’s a lot of oil all over the racetrack with corner workers slipping all over it. Big mess and hope we can go green again. It’s bad for me, bad for Tony, bad for Jamie and everyone not being able to practice.”
The No. 14 Chevrolet was eighth when getting involved in the incident and it was Stewart’s first incident since climbing back into the racecar last month. He was running behind Patrick and slid in her oil crashing the right front into the concrete wall, coming down into the inside wall.
A third Stewart-Haas Racing driver, Kurt Busch, felt a miss in his rear gear, but caught it in time and brought his machine into the garage after posting the ninth quickest time.
“I was feeling something all along with the rear gear on the drive train, Busch said. “There was something weird so I came in.”
The rear gear that the Stewart-Haas Racing team is having has been used at other tracks. This is the first time that the team has experienced issues with this particular gear.
“All of the cars have the same gear from the same manufacture with the same material,” said competition director of SHR Greg Zipadelli. “We will be fine. It’s tough losing two cars, but it’s just part of this sport.
McMurray was running just behind the two cars and as he went to slow his car down was caught up in the incident. While leaving the infield care center he was holding an ice pack on his right elbow. The team believes that he banged it against the seat.