Friday, September 17, 2021

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Afternoon Cup Practice Cancelled as Stenhouse Jr. leads first session

As rain continued to fall at the Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR officials were forced to cancel the afternoon Sprint Cup Series practice.

NASCAR had started the Nationwide Series qualifying session as scheduled and were 19 minutes into the first 25 minute segment when rain began to fall. Since then, NASCAR has been in a holding pattern as they wait for the rain to stop and dry the track.

With the focus on getting the Nationwide Series qualifying in completely, NASCAR made the decision to cancel the afternoon Sprint Cup Series practice. The cup cars were on track earlier today and will get one more chance to practice tomorrow afternoon.

In the morning session, it was sophomore driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. leading the field with a lap of 45.679 seconds. His Roush-Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle was second, followed by Danica Patrick, David Gilliland and Tony Stewart.

Hendrick Motorsports driver Jeff Gordon was sixth, followed by Paul Menard, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne and Denny Hamlin.

Following their wrecks in the Budweiser Duel, Michael Waltrip, Clint Bowyer, David Ragan and Martin Truex Jr. were forced to go to back-up cars. They were unable to get out for the practice today so tomorrow’s practice will be crucial for those teams. Jamie McMurray and Jimmie Johnson also were forced to their back-up cars, but were able to make laps today.

There was one red flag during the session when NASCAR suspected possible fluid on the track as Marcos Ambrose slowed down the backstretch. Ambrose’s crew chief reasoned that his driver slowed due to a leak after making an engine change. Teams are allowed to make an engine change following the Budwiser Duel, but it must be made before tomorrow’s practice.

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