Race Weekend Central

Kyle Busch, Paul Menard Top Cup Practices At Daytona

Less than 24 hours after spinning on the backstretch during the first Gander Outdoors RV Duel at Daytona International Speedway, Kyle Busch paced opening practice on Friday afternoon (Feb. 15). Paul Menard led the second practice.

Practice One

Busch turned a quick lap of 200.285 miles per hour, .019 seconds ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing teammate (200.200 mph) Martin Truex Jr. 

Rookie Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Preece was third on the scoring pylon (200.169 mph), while Erik Jones (200.156 mph) and Ryan Newman (200.093 mph) rounded out the top five.

Meanwhile, Matt DiBenedetto, Denny Hamlin, Bubba Wallace, David Ragan and Chase Elliott rounded out the top 10.

Thirty-six of 40 drivers took time in the session, though 21 of them ran a lap over 195 mph. Polesitter, William Byron, ran 32 laps, which was the most in the practice. The No. 24 car was mired back in 16th on the board.

Full results from first practice 

Practice Two

It took about 15 minutes for the Fords to hit the track, but when they did, they shot to the top of the scoring chart.

Menard led the second practice (200.758 mph), though Jamie McMurray tagged along for the second quickest speed (200.695 mph) to be the lone Chevrolet in the mix. A pair of Roush Fenway Racing cars slotted in third and fourth with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (200.664 mph) and Newman (200.637 mph), with Clint Bowyer (200.588 mph) completing the top five.

Fords filled positions six through 10, as Aric Almirola, Daniel Suarez, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski all ran in the draft. The next three positions outside the top 10 were also under the Ford banner: Kevin Harvick, David Ragan and Michael McDowell.

Newman ran the most laps in the session with 24. Preece was just behind with 23. Twenty-nine of 40 cars turned at least one lap, though some teams, including Truex, are done practicing for the week.

Final practice for Sunday’s (Feb. 17) Daytona 500 will run on Saturday (Feb. 16) at noon ET.

About the author

Dustin joined the Frontstretch team at the beginning of the 2016 season. 2020 marks his sixth full-time season covering the sport that he grew up loving. His dream was to one day be a NASCAR journalist, thus why he attended Ithaca College (Class of 2018) to earn a journalism degree. Since the ripe age of four, he knew he wanted to be a storyteller.

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