By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
It was a quite and uneventful final practice for most on Saturday for the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. This was not the case however for both Greg Biffle and Kyle Larson.
Very late into the session, Larson’s No.42 Target Chevrolet SS broke loose in the middle of turns three and four. Larson fought to save the car, just tagging the outside wall. Running just behind Larson, Biffle was on new tires, and didn’t see Larson until it was too late. Unfortunately for Larson, Biffle slammed into him from behind, badly damaging both cars. Larson’s team elected for repair the rear-end of his car, as Biffle’s No. 16 Ford EcoBoost team opted to repair the front end of his Ford Fusion.
Biffle is set to roll off of the starting grid in the 22nd position for Sunday’s race, with Larson further back in 32nd. Both drivers are looking for some luck after a rough start for both of their seasons.
“I was running decent laps on the top and just got loose there,” Larson said after the accident. “And kind of corrected it and was fine, barely hit the wall, and I slowed down so much that the 16 (Biffle) caught me on the exit off the corner and got into me. It’s just disappointing that it happened. I apologize to Greg Biffle for that. I hate it for the guys that have to work on the cars.”
Biffle explained to the media what he saw, and how the accident was unavoidable.
“We were on new tires,” said Biffle. “That was our second lap and the 42 was on old tires, so our closure rate was super-fast. I was kind of looking at my mark on the wall and on the race track and he wrecked in front of me and I just couldn’t get stopped. There wasn’t anywhere for me to go. The groove is right up against the fence and I was going probably 15-20 miles an hour faster than he was. By the time I saw him sideways I was catching him so fast that I don’t know what happened.”
Matt Kenseth ended up topping the charts for final practice. Carl Edwards, Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, and Aric Almirola rounded out the top five speeds. Biffle ended up 15th on the charts. Larson wound up with the 26th fastest lap time before the accident.
Image: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images