Saturday, February 14, 2015

Stenhouse Jr. fastest in first Daytona 500 practice

In the opening practice for next Sunday’s Daytona 500, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. posted the quickest time of 48 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars that took time at the “World Center of Racing.”

Stenhouse Jr. led the way with a time of 44.413 seconds at 202.64 miles per hour, edging Richard Petty Motorsports’ new driver Sam Hornish Jr., also in a Ford. Trevor Bayne graduating from the NASCAR XFINITY Series to full-time Sprint Cup racing this season was third quickest in another Roush Fenway Racing entry.

Last July’s Daytona winner Aric Almirola put the second Richard Petty Motorsports entry fourth while defending Daytona 500 champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-five.

Quickly, teams started out the session in the draft but opted to go to single-car runs shortly thereafter – keeping Stenhouse Jr. atop the leaderboard for nearly the entire session.

Tomorrow’s qualifying session for the Daytona 500 separates from the traditional single-car runs to group qualifying, pairing the 49-entries into two groups based on a qualifying draw. The two fastest competitors from those groups will set the front-row for the “Great American Race.”

Greg Biffle with new backing from Ortho was sixth followed by Denny Hamlin, Front Row Motorsports’ David Gilliland, 2013 Daytona 500 pole sitter Danica Patrick and Carl Edwards rounding out the top-10.

Edwards in his first official Sprint Cup Series practice for Joe Gibbs Racing will have to make the Daytona 500 based on speed or his finishing position in Thursday’s Duel races. Edwards doesn’t have owner points to fall back on for a provisional.

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Practice 1 Results

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