Friday, February 24, 2012

Edwards and Logano Pace Fastest Laps in Final Daytona 500 Practices

By Fred C.

There is one more practice session scheduled for Saturday morning at 10:30 est and if today's two practices are any indication, there won't be much to expect at all.  At this point in the week, most of all teams pretty much know what they have for Sunday's Great American Race and over half the field chose to not take any chances with their cars today.

Carl Edwards is 15/1 to win Daytona 500 (Getty)
Only 16 cars took to the track in today's first practice (Practice 5 speeds)  with all that can possibly be taken away from it is that the Fords continue to show great speed and remain the favorites to capture the Harley J. Earl Trophy on Sunday.  Juan Pablo Montoya's #42 Chevrolet logged the most laps of the session with 26 (10 more than any other driver) which is perfectly understandable since that is a backup car after Thursday's crash took out his primary. 

The 99 of Carl Edwards continued to lead the Ford charge with front row teammate Greg Biffle clocking in with the 5th fastest time.  Is it finally time for Edwards to catch a break at a superspeedway? It is looking better and better as we get closer to race time, even though the last Daytona 500 pole sitter to go to Victory Lane was over 10 years ago, when Dale Jarrett grabbed his 2nd 500 win in 2000.

Needless to say, Edwards and practically all of his Ford teammates chose to stay on the sidelines for Friday's 2nd practice session (Practice 6 speeds).  Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) took over the reigns with drivers Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin clocking in 1st, 2nd, and 4th respectively.

Surprisingly, defending Sprint Cup Champ and 17 time Daytona winner (no 500's however) Tony Stewart showed up and logged 14 laps, clocking in with the 5th fastest time.

If any driver can stop the Brigade, Stewart is surely one of those drivers.  He has to be a very strong consideration at odds of 10-1 or better and has arguably shown to be the best car this week in race trim.  Oh, and the 17 Daytona wins just resonates over and over again...that kind of Daytona record remind you of anyone?