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A heavy crash brought an early end to the day for Kasey Kahne and Daniel Suarez in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at Michigan International Speedway.
Kahne’s Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet drifted up into the path of Suarez’s No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in Turn 2 on the 138th of a scheduled 200 laps. The two cars then slid into the 2-mile track’s retaining wall, causing severe damage to both.
Suarez, a Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate, led three laps early in the Pure Michigan 400. Both cars were forced to the garage with heavy damage.
RELATED: Alternate view of the Turn 2 melee
Kahne said he had committed to the bottom lane before the two cars collided.
“I expected we could be close off the corner, and I was just coming off and then we hit,” Kahne said after leaving the track’s infield car center. “So, I don’t know. I expected to run side-by-side down the backstretch, but not give a lot of room, because you don’t. Nobody does. But I was making the pass and I don’t know how we hit. Ruined it. It’s over.”
Suarez, who saw his streak of top-10 finishes snapped at four races, had his own version. It was particularly a blow for the rookie, who is on the playoff bubble.
“I don’t really know,” Suarez said. “I was very, very tight and I was just trying to hold my line. I think the 5 (Kahne), he was passing me obviously and he went up a little too soon for me. I was trying to give him some room, but actually I got out of the throttle at that point, but I don’t know if he was told it was already time to go up. I don’t know. It’s just unfortunate because we came from a streak of top fives and now this is going to be the end of it. We’re going to regroup and come back stronger next week.”