Logano and Ford top Daytona 500 qualifying practice
After a four-hour qualifying practice — longer than most Daytona 500s — a Team Penske Ford was atop the speed chart once again.
On Saturday, it was Joey Logano leading the way among 42 competitors with a lap of 193.116mph (46.604-seconds).
“So far it’s been a couple good practices for Penske and Ford, and now we’ll see how the races go. Practice is really just practice. There’s really nothing to it there. We’ll just have to keep tuning it in to make sure we’re good in the races," Logano said.
Ford Performance held three of the top five spots. Aric Almirola posted the second fastest lap with a speed of 193.054 mph followed by Brad Keselowski (193.046mph).
“It’s really cool to come here and have a car that’s that fast, so thank you,” Keselowski told his crew chief Paul Wolfe.
Kyle Larson (193.034mph) broke up the Blue Oval party with Ryan Blaney (192.980mph) rounding out the top five competitors.
Rookie Daniel Suarez was sixth quick with a speed of 192.922mph.
“There’s definitely a lot going on,” Suarez said. “This was probably the longest practice of my career. I’m learning a lot about single car speeds.
“We’re really looking forward to tonight’s Clash. I hope to learn a lot.”
Kasey Kahne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Trevor Bayne and Clint Bowyer completed the top 10 speeds.
Bowyer was almost giddy after moving to the top of the speed chart after three laps, 11 minutes into the session.
“It’s here baby, it’s here, I’ve been waiting for this for a while — and the car is fast,” Bowyer said.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. also returned to action on Saturday. He completed nine laps and was 11th quick with a speed of 192.670mph.
“It’s good to be doing some laps; good to be doing some work,” Earnhardt said. “The car seems to be doing all right. Hard to tell where you line up against these guys. They're all doing something different, running different laps, more lines, stuff like that.
“Hopefully we're going to get out there tomorrow and have a shot at the pole. We'd love to get on the front row, take a little pressure off of us. The qualifying races and all that stuff. Yeah, it's been great. great weather, really cool and comfortable. Like i say, there's been no problems with the car so far. It's been smooth.”
Kyle Busch’s 32 laps were the most completed in the session.
The practice was slowed three times — twice for debris at the 33-minute mark and 72 minutes later. The session was red-flagged again just past halfway when the engine blew in Reed Sorenson’s car.
Both Furniture Row Racing Toyota’s experienced issues with templates. The No. 78 Toyota was still in the inspection bay halfway through the exercise. Rookie Erik Jones finally made it on the track at the 2:35 mark. He completed nine laps and was 16th fastest. Martin Truex Jr., who finished second in the 2016 Daytona 500, took his first lap with 48 minutes remaining on the clock. Truex said it was the team’s game plan to make just one circuit around the 2.5-mile track. He did and was 20th of 42 cars.
“It’s a situation where you don’t want to panic,” said Furniture Row GM Joe Garrone. “We have plenty of time. We know now what we have to do back at the shop, we’ll move forward.”
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|Location||Daytona International Speedway|