DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Toyota domination kicked off Friday on-track activity for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Daytona Int’l Speedway, with Daniel Suarez leading the third practice session for the 60th annual Daytona 500.
Suarez took his No. 19 ARRIS Camry to a best lap of 45.036 seconds (199.840 mph) in the draft around the 2.5-mile tri-oval, just missing the 200 mile per hour barrier but topping a train of three Toyota drivers at the top of the speed charts.
The 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion and native of Monterrey, Mexico will seek his first Cup Series win during Sunday’s Great American Race, where he’ll roll off 17th after an eighth-place finish during Thursday night’s first Can-Am Duel.
Second was Suarez’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin, who will start on the outside pole Sunday but continued to showcase a very fast car, posting the second-quickest lap of the 50-minute session at 45.058 seconds (199.743 mph)
Hamlin won the 2016 Daytona 500 and will chase his second Harley J. Earl Trophy later in the weekend.
Defending Cup champion Martin Truex Jr. completed the hat trick in third (45.069/199.694), followed by David Ragan’s Front Row Motorsports Ford and Danica Patrick’s Premium Motorsports Chevrolet.
Darrell Wallace Jr., Kyle Busch, Brendan Gaughan, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Justin Marks completed the top 10 on the scoring pylon.
Notables who crashed in Thursday night’s Duel qualifying races and went to backup cars for the remainder of the weekend included William Byron (13th), Kyle Larson (20th), Brad Keselowski (26th), Aric Almirola (27th) and Jimmie Johnson (32nd).
36 of the 40 drivers for Sunday’s race took time during the 50-minute session, with no incidents.
Full practice results can be viewed on the next page…