Race Weekend Central

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Tops First 500 Practice

Some things never change: An Earnhardt led Daytona practice.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. paced the first Sprint Cup practice for the Daytona 500 on Saturday morning with a fast lap of 194.116 mph. Joining Earnhardt in the top 5 were defending 500 champion Joey Logano (193.853), 2009 and 2012 race winner Matt Kenseth (193.782), rookie Chase Elliott (193.586) and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne (193.582).

The top 10 was completed by Brad Keselowski (193.436), Greg Biffle (193.407), Kurt Busch (193.220), Carl Edwards (193.199) and Martin Truex Jr. (193.100).

While Hendrick appeared to have the upper hand during the single-car run session, Jimmie Johnson was notably absent at the top of the leaderboard. He finished the session in 19th, with a lap of 192.583.

Other notables: Kyle Busch finished 11th (193.087), Brian Vickers – who is subbing for an injured Tony Stewart – finished 17th (192.666), Danica Patrick finished 31st (191.091) and Clint Bowyer finished 37th (189.314).

Cole Whitt, David Gilliland, Robert Richardson Jr., Josh Wise and Reed Sorenson were the slowest five drivers. All will need to qualify or race their way into the 500 as they do not have one of the 36 charters.

The second practice of the day will take place at 1:30 pm on FS1.


About the author

Sean returns as a ringer in 2017, contributing once a month because he (gasp!) is living it up in the big city without internet. While he's not consuming race news on the Twitter app and reddit he's writing a ton of short stories and paying the bills by working in marketing.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I have my picks for who might be the coveted Daytona 500 pole if the weather holds out.

If the storyline follows the past couple of years…

1)Tony Stewarts last year, he screwed that up so he is out.

2)Lots of talk about Junior being denied at Dega..(cough) and Junior wanting the “leadership” role at HMS and his yearly “new and determined” mindset at Hendricks, so Junior has a shot at it. :). As they keep telling us, Earnhardt’s own the super speedways, and everybody else are interlopers.

2)The little darling Chase Elliott, favorite son (although not ever a “silver spooned punk”)..chuckling about the stupidity of that often posted statement, and hate on others as if the Elliott’s had no connections and are on welfare and fought by sheer determination and no money, no outside support to get where Chase is. He like Dillon before him, needs to “ease” the fans from a mindset of Earnhardt in the 3, and the same logic applies Chase to make fans forget about Jeff in the 24. That seems to me to be the mindset of the big stories Brian thinks are there and how to exploit them, as he see’s fit.

3) A late thought comes to mind…because of the crappy treating of the Wood Brothers in regards to the “charter” system and it’s miracle panacea for NASCAR. Ryan Blaney might be in the running. (I.e. the logic is..”see even a non charter member is considered equal”, or something illogical like that.

I could be wrong and sure I am, but with Brian’s addiction to the “feel good” show, who knows.

Brian in PDX

… annnnnnd, Bingo!


One other thing I noticed, with the “Daytona Rising” showboating going around and telling us how wonderful it is..never mind the racing on the track however. Lot’s of TOYOTA signs around, meaning yet again, they put a lot of dough into the France family coifers. This being the “inaguarl” run of the new and bestest track. A Toys driver might very well get the honor.

Two Hendrick drivers with a “story to tell”.

A Ford driver, being the poor red headed step child.

Or the big corporate sponsor continuing to call in their pound of flesh.

…We shall see, or not. :)



Share via