DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice is in the books.
Featuring new driver and team combinations, revamped paint schemes and reorganized crews, the opening practice for the Daytona 500 didn’t lack in excitement as Joe Gibbs Racing’s four-car fleet led the session at Daytona International Speedway.
Utilizing a tight draft, Kyle Busch topped the leaderboards with a blazing 199.743 mph (45.058 seconds) speed, with teammates Denny Hamlin (45.085 seconds), Daniel Suarez (45.088 seconds), and Erik Jones (45.109 seconds) following in suit.
Among those teammates, Busch, Hamlin and Jones will all be competing in tomorrow’s Advanced Auto Parts Clash, which is a 75-lap non-points exhibition event for pole winners and playoff drivers from last season.
Piloting the iconic No. 3 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, Austin Dillon (45.621 seconds) closed out the top five on the leaderboard. In addition to preparing for the Great American Race, the former NASCAR XFINITY Series champion will also be involved in the Clash tomorrow afternoon.
2011 Daytona 500 champion Jamie McMurray, Ty Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Alex Bowman and Kyle Larson finished the top ten positions on the speed charts in the opening practice.
Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. was 13th in the practice session.
Among other notables, defending Daytona 500 champion Kurt Busch was 24th fastest and Danica Patrick, who is making her final Cup Series start next weekend, was 31st quickest in her No. 7 GoDaddy Chevrolet.
Second practice for the Cup Series is slated to start at 3:05 p.m. Eastern and is scheduled to be a 60 minute session; coverage can be found on Fox Sports 1 or SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
About the Writer
Marshall Gabell is the Mid-Atlantic Correspondent for Race Chaser Online, and handles public relations needs in multiple outlets of motorsports, including for tracks and drivers. Gabell is currently attending Stephen Decatur High School in Ocean City, Maryland, completing his junior year. He is 17 years old.
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