Business was busier than normal for the Saturday practice sessions by the NASCAR Cup Series drivers at the Daytona International Speedway. Usually, with the first two sessions being held prior to Sunday’s Daytona 500 qualifying, teams typically elect for more single car runs to keep their ‘500 cars clean.
We’ve seen a lot in the past that when they draft in these sessions, carnage usually ensues. So, in recent years, the two annual Saturday practice sessions on the 2.5-mile track are filled with single car laps instead of side by side, high speed pace laps.
Instead, on Saturday, they were action packed with fast speeds, close action and everyone storing their race cars back in the garage unscathed as both 50-minute practice sessions ran without any crashes.
In the first session, Ty Dillon topped the speed charts with a speed of 203.592 mph in his No. 13 Chevrolet. He was drafting with a group of Chevrolet drivers which is why you see Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (203.192 mph) in P2. Third through seventh were Toyota drivers as Denny Hamlin (202.684 mph), Erik Jones (202.525 mph) and Martin Truex Jr. (202.379 mph) went 3-4-5 while Christopher Bell (202.293 mph) and Kyle Busch (202.188 mph) were sixth and seventh respectively.
The Toyota’s went 1-2-3-4 in Clash practice earlier in the morning. Also, 13 cars overall topped 200 mph in the initial session.
In the final session, Darrell Wallace Jr. was quickest in his No. 43 Chevrolet. Wallace, circled the track with a speed of 196.172 mph. Rookies Cole Custer (196.108 mph) and John Hunter Nemechek (196.040 mph) were P2 and P3 while Hendrick teammates Alex Bowman (195.088 mph), Jimmie Johnson (194.835 mph), Chase Elliott (194.317 mph) and William Byron (194.250 mph) rounded out the top seven.