Cup Cars Back on Track at Daytona: Saturday Recap

by Brandon Rivero On Sat, Feb. 10, 2018

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 10: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour Energy Toyota, drives through the garage during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 10, 2018 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona Practice

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series cars were finally back on track this morning at Daytona International Speedway.

Starting off with the Advance Auto Parts Clash practice, Ryan Blaney led the charts with a top speed of 199.601 mph in his new Menards No. 12 Ford Fusion for Team Penske.

The Ford camp took over the top four spots followed by Joey Logano with a top speed of 199.543, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. with a 199.508, and Brad Keselowski with a 199.490 mph lap.

The Fords also dominated the top two spots in the best 10 consecutive lap averages with Keselowski running an average speed of 197.883 and Stenhouse Jr. averaging a speed of 197.880.

The quickest Chevrolet was the No. 42 DC Solar Camaro ZL1 of Kyle Larson with a top speed of 199.468.

The No. 18 M&Ms Camry driven by Kyle Busch was the fastest Toyota with a top speed of 198.684.

There are 17 cars in the field for the Clash so it should be interesting to see the results of the draw for the starting lineup.

First Daytona 500 Qualifying Practice

Before the first Daytona 500 practice began NASCAR announced a gear ratio change from 360 to 350 for both Daytona 500 practices.

Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Camry topped the charts of the first practice with a top speed of 199.743 followed by his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates of Denny Hamlin with a 199.623, Daniel Suarez with a 199.610, and Erik Jones with a 199.517.

With under five minutes left in the session, the group of teammates drafted until the session ended.

During the practice session, a car leaked fluid on the track and put the practice on a red flag for about 30 minutes.

Most of the practice consisted of single-car runs. The new driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Insurance Camaro ZL1, Alex Bowman, led, for the most part, and had the fastest single-car run with a top speed of 193.999 mph.

Having some draft help, Austin Dillon in his No. 3 Camaro ZLI led the Chevy camp with a top speed of 197.278.

The No. 17 Ford of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was the fastest Ford and marked a top speed of 195.389.

Final Daytona 500 Qualifying Practice

The final Daytona 500 qualifying practice looked a lot different from the first one. It started off with a few single cars runs and then drafting took over the track.

Rookie William Byron in the No. 24 Axalta Camaro ZL1 topped the charts with a speed of 201.681 followed by the No. 17 Fusion of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. with a top speed of 201.649 mph.

The quickest Toyota was the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin with a 201.464 mph lap.

Alex Bowman in the No. 88 had another fast single car run before drafting began to take place. Danica Patrick in her bright green No. 7 GoDaddy.com Camaro ZL1 for Premium Motorsports led a portion of the practice session while in the draft.

With less than 10 minutes to go in the session, a pack of about 13 cars formed on the high banks. Byron had a few moments that could have left him with a wrecked race car.

The front row of the Daytona 500 will be decided tomorrow during qualifying.

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