Blaney fastest in Daytona 500 final practice

Blaney fastest in Daytona 500 final practice

The Nextel Cup cars took to the 2.5-mile superspeedway in Daytona today for their final morning of practice before the 46th running of the Daytona 500. The initial morning practice session was canceled due to a heavy fog that rolled into the...

The Nextel Cup cars took to the 2.5-mile superspeedway in Daytona today for their final morning of practice before the 46th running of the Daytona 500. The initial morning practice session was canceled due to a heavy fog that rolled into the greater Volusia county area, but cars were able to get on track late morning for NASCAR's "Happy Hour."

Dave Blaney.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
Dave Blaney, manning the Bill Davis Racing No. 23 Dodge, posted the top speed of the session, with a lap of 46.881 seconds for a speed of 191.975 miles per hour.

Scott Wimmer, Jeremy Mayfield, Jimmie Johnson and Ricky Rudd complete the top five fastest times. Rookie driver Wimmer was a mere 0.056 seconds off of his teammate's best time in the No. 22 BDR Dodge.

Mayfield gave Dodge the top three spots in final practice with a lap clocked at 46.938 seconds (191.742 mph), just 0.001 seconds shy of Wimmer's lap in his Evernham Motorsports machine.

The fastest Chevrolet was Johnson at 46.982 seconds (191.563 mph) for the Hendrick Motorsports stable. Rudd clocked in at 46.985 seconds (191.551 mph) in his Wood Brothers Racing Ford.

The top nine drivers were over 191 miles per hour in what is their race set-up practice session.

Pole sitter Greg Biffle, wasn't able to find the speed that earned him the catbird seat for Sunday's season opening event, he was only 36th quickest. Elliott Sadler, who joins Biffle on the front row, was 11th.

Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and Johnny Benson.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
The DEI cars, always a threat on a restrictor plate race track, seemed lackluster Saturday, which made many teams wonder if the Dale Earnhardt Incorporated teammates were sandbagging. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was the fastest of the DEI cars, in 27th. Michael Waltrip was 28th, while John Andretti charted the 37th speediest time.

Andretti's biggest problem of the session wasn't the slow time, but an incident with Tony Stewart. Stewart crunched the side of the No. 20 Chevy trying to avoid the No. 1 Chevy of Andretti. Stewart was not amused and promptly pulled into his garage stall and lowered the door down.

Ryan Newman spun the No. 12 Dodge on the first lap due to a flat left rear tire. The Penske team will make an engine change, and start from the rear of the field tomorrow.

"When we cut the tire down," expressed Newman. "The motor spun backward. We've got to change it. It could have hurt it and it might not have hurt it, but we can't take the chance going into the Daytona 500."

During Newman's spin, his teammate Rusty Wallace slammed into the rear of the No. 99 Roush Racing Ford of Jeff Burton causing just cosmetic damage on both machines.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Greg Biffle , Ryan Newman , Johnny Benson , Jimmie Johnson , Scott Wimmer , Eric Gilbert , Elliott Sadler , Dave Blaney , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports , Wood Brothers Racing , Bill Davis Racing