*THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED TO NOTE THAT NASCAR HAS CHANGED THE SIZE OF THE RESTRICTOR PLATES IN THE CUP CARS THIS WEEKEND, FOLLOWING JAMIE MCMURRAY’S WRECK.
TALLADEGA, Ala. — Outside the infield care center at Talladega Superspeedway, Jamie McMurray stood by the guard rails and watched a replay of the backstretch barrel roll that sent him to the care center.
“I think that we blew a left-rear tire. I don’t know. That’s what it sounded like. I heard the tire start to come apart, and you’re kind of along for the ride. The car, I think it turned to the right and then kind of back to the left. Obviously, I was in the front of that draft. Once it starts rolling, you don’t have any control. You can’t tell what’s up and what’s down. You’re spinning so fast. I was just thankful. Honestly, the whole time it’s flipping, I was like ‘Just please land the right way up so I can get out.’ You just never know if there’s going to be a fire. We literally had only run like four or five laps. You know you have a full tank of fuel. To get out upside-down, I’ve never done that. But it’s a challenge when you watch guys try to do that. So I was thankful that the car landed on all four.”
McMurray had only completed five laps in final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice, when he suffered a left-rear tire failure, spun-out and got airborne. Compounding the matter, Ryan Newman t-boned him just as he was getting airborne, sending him rolling right over the front of Newman’s car and landing on the hood of his car.
McMurray rolled over two and a half times before the catch fence stopped him, accelerating his roll down the apron until he came to a halt.
Along with Newman, Ty Dillon and Daniel Suarez collected damage.
McMurray’s barrel roll wreck prompted NASCAR to reduce the size of the restrictor plates in the Cup cars this weekend from 7/8th’s of an inch to 55/64th’s of an inch.
Ironically, McMurray ended the session at the top of the chart, with a time of 46.947 and a speed of 203.975 mph.
Dillon, Suarez, Erik Jones and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the Top-five.