DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Daniel Suarez completed a sweep of Friday’s two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice sessions by winning Happy Hour, but unlike the first session earlier in the day, there was manufacturer parity at the top of the board.
Suarez’s No. 19 ARRIS Toyota led the way with the fastest lap of the week in the draft, a blistering 44.296 second clip at 203.179 mph, but he was followed closely by Ryan Newman’s Chevrolet and Michael McDowell’s Ford after having a pair of Toyotas behind him during the opening practice.
Still, Suarez’s time was the one to beat, as Joe Gibbs Racing gets set for its pursuit of a third Daytona 500 title on Sunday.
Newman’s lap of 44.347 seconds (202.945 mph) in the No. 31 Cabela’s/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet gave him both the runner-up position on speed and a good dose of confidence going into final practice on Saturday and the race.
“I feel like we’ve had a good start to the season so far with our team, and I feel like we had a great session today,” said Newman. “I’m really looking forward to Sunday after we get a little bit more practice in tomorrow. Our car felt a lot better today and I’m pleased with where we’re at.”
McDowell, A.J. Allmendinger and Kyle Busch completed the top five.
Paul Menard, driving the No. 21 Omnicraft Ford for the Wood Brothers, was sixth ahead of Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick.
Final practice for the Daytona 500 kicks off on Saturday at noon Eastern time, live on FOX Sports 1.
Full practice results can be viewed on the next page…