NSCS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Leads Final Daytona 500 Practice

Photo Credit: Noel Lanier

In the final practice ahead of Sunday’s Great American Race, only 25 of the 40 starters would take to the track for practice laps. While speeds do not mean much as it all depends on whether you catch a draft at the right time and how you close up on someone, a familiar face found his way to the top once again.

Cam-Am Duel Race 1 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. would make eight lap during the session, closing up on a small draft to post the quickest speed of 197.131 mph. Earnhardt has emerged as one of the heavy favourites based on the speed shown thus far this weekend, and driving a familiar chassis.

“We caught a little draft there so that’s why we put that number up there on the board, but we’re just trying to do single car runs,” Earnhardt said. “The car has great speed and I’m really looking forward to the race. The track is just starting to age and it’s getting a little slick, and the surface is just going to get better and better over the years.”

RELATED: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Stands as Daytona 500 Favourite with Confidence and Amelia

The Team Penske trio would take the next three spots, with 2015 Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano in second, followed by Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski. Notably, Blaney is driving for the Wood Brothers Racing, but that team has a new alliance with Team Penske this year.

Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick took the fifth and sixth spots, followed by Greg Biffle, pole sitter Chase Elliott, Brian Vickers and Clint Bowyer.

 

POS DRIVER LAPS FAST SPEED FAST TIME BEHIND
1 #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 8 197.131 45.655 Leader
2 #22 Joey Logano 29 196.369 45.832 0.177
3 #21 Ryan Blaney 29 196.288 45.851 0.196
4 #2 Brad Keselowski 29 196.262 45.857 0.202
5 #41 Kurt Busch 23 196.061 45.904 0.249
6 #4 Kevin Harvick 10 196.014 45.915 0.260
7 #16 Greg Biffle 7 195.959 45.928 0.273
8 #24 Chase Elliott 16 195.839 45.956 0.301
9 #14 Brian Vickers 10 195.814 45.962 0.307
10 #15 Clint Bowyer 15 195.763 45.974 0.319
11 #38 Landon Cassill 20 195.236 46.098 0.443
12 #7 Regan Smith 13 195.135 46.122 0.467
13 #5 Kasey Kahne 22 194.397 46.297 0.642
14 #23 David Ragan 6 194.384 46.300 0.645
15 #26 Robert Richardson Jr. 15 194.342 46.310 0.655
16 #6 Trevor Bayne 7 194.280 46.325 0.670
17 #46 Michael Annett 7 194.221 46.339 0.684
18 #48 Jimmie Johnson 18 193.719 46.459 0.804
19 #1 Jamie McMurray 9 193.075 46.614 0.959
20 #95 Ty Dillon 11 192.951 46.644 0.989
21 #20 Matt Kenseth 29 192.806 46.679 1.024
22 #43 Aric Almirola 24 192.201 46.826 1.171
23 #44 Brian Scott 23 192.160 46.836 1.181
24 #31 Ryan Newman 14 191.111 47.093 1.438
25 #34 Chris Buescher 19 190.392 47.271 1.616