Race Weekend Central

Denny Hamlin Leads Sprint Cup Happy Hour Practice

The final practice for the 57th Annual Daytona 500 is in the books. Denny Hamlin tripped the clock in 44.531 seconds for a speed of 202.106 mph to lead all drivers. Hamlin logged 24 laps with the 11th being the fastest in the session. His speedy times continue to back the belief during Speedweeks that the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas are the co-favorites, sharing the honor with the four-car Hendrick Motorsports operation.

The only other driver over the 202 mph barrier was Kasey Kahne, logging a lap of 44.549 seconds at a speed of 202.025 mph to take second-quickest. Greg Biffle was third at 201.853 mph with a lap that took 44.587 seconds. The new driver of the No. 9 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, Sam Hornish Jr. slotted in fourth while David Ragan rounded out the top 5.

35 cars took times in the last practice before the Great American Race. JJ Yeley was the slowest in the session at 187.586 MPH with a lap that took 47.978 seconds to complete. Kyle Larson turned the most laps in the session with 38 circuits, while Yeley and Johnny Sauter each turned two laps for the fewest in the session. Regan Smith was 30th-quickest, turning his first laps in the No. 41 Chevrolet in preparation for the Daytona 500.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. had the highest 10-lap average speed at 199.560 mph. Aric Almirola, Trevor Bayne, Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick were the remainder of the top 5 in 10-lap average speeds.

About the author

What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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