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Ganassi Chevrolet driver Jamie McMurray escaped unhurt from a multiple roll in final practice for this weekend’s Talladega NASCAR Cup race.
Within the first five minutes of the session, McMurray appeared to suffer a left-rear puncture in the middle of the back straight – turning him across the front of Ryan Newman’s Chevrolet.
McMurray’s car proceeded to roll over three times before catching part of infield catchfence and then coming to a rest on the track on its wheels.
“I think I blew a left-rear tyre out,” said McMurray, who still ended up fastest in the session with a time from before the crash.
“I’ve never done the roll like that before. I opened my eyes a couple of times. I was just thankful that it landed upright.
“When the car is tumbling you can’t tell where the impact is coming from and you don’t know how many other cars might be involved.”
Ty Dillon spun behind the incident as he braked in avoidance and Daniel Suarez was also involved.
All four drivers had to go to back-up cars and will therefore start Sunday’s race from the rear of the field. Dillon and Suarez were second and third in the session behind McMurray.
“When I hit the brakes they had nowhere to go behind me,” said Dillon, who was fastest in Friday’s first practice session.
“I think [Ganassi] may have been pushing a little too far and ended up with a tyre rub on the rear tyre.”
Newman, a vocal critic in the past of restrictor-plate racing, tempered his response when asked about McMurray’s car getting airborne.
“It’s unnecessary and it needs to be addressed,” he said. “I’ll leave it at that.”