Surprising names topped both the third and fourth Sprint Cup Series practices on Wednesday.
Michael McDowell, who needs to race his way into the Daytona 500 by finishing as the highest open driver in Thursday’s Can-Am Duels, laid down a lap of 200.17 mph during a first practice that included a lot of drafting.
The Roush Fenway Racing trio of Trevor Bayne, Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. finished the first practice in second through fourth, with laps of 199.92, 199.62 and 199.25 mph, respectively.
The remainder of the top 10 consisted of Casey Mears (199.16), Paul Menard (199.12), Regan Smith (198.98), Chase Elliott (198.29), AJ Allmendinger (197.68) and Brian Scott (197.63).
The practice was the first of two on Wednesday for the Sprint Cup teams. 36 of 44 cars took laps in the earlier session; the four Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch did not turn laps, instead utilizing the second practice rather than the first.
In the second practice, Scott led with a lap of 199.80. Austin Dillon finished second (199.76), while third through fifth belonged to Kyle Busch (199.72), Jimmie Johnson (199.645) and Menard (199.60).
Sixth to tenth in the second practice were Kurt Busch (199.19), Kasey Kahne (198.99), Denny Hamlin (198.71), Carl Edwards (198.70) and Matt Kenseth (198.68).
Ryan Newman and Michael Waltrip tangled about fifteen minutes into the second practice after sliding in oil laid down by Ty Dillon’s car. Kyle Larson and David Gilliland also sustained damage in the accident, with Larson and Waltrip electing to go to backup cars.
The Sprint Cup drivers will take to track at noon on Thursday afternoon in final preparation for the Can-Am Duels later in the day.
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You would never know that. The bit I saw of practice you would think next coming of Christ, Chase Elliot was the only one on the track for the whole practice session. Chase, this Chase that..Chase, Chase, Chase, Chase…Chase Ellliott, Chase Elliott, Chase Elliott. I am surprised it wasn’t announced that he helped deliver a child in his car at 190 MPH. It was sickening. All were guilty, script or not. That had to be sick of hearing themselves.