Daytona 500: William Byron leads eventful pre-qualifying practice

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Daytona 500: William Byron leads eventful pre-qualifying practice
Lee Spencer
By: Lee Spencer
Feb 10, 2018, 9:06 PM

William Byron led the final practice prior to the Can-Am Duels at Daytona International Speedway.

Byron led 18 laps with a top speed of 201.681mph. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who won two of the four restrictor plate races in 2017, ran second (201.649) followed by Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, David Ragan, Paul Menard, Trevor Bayne, Daniel Suarez, Ryan Blaney and Michael McDowell.

“It was awesome," said Byron. "The car has a lot of speed.  The new Camaro is great.  The new ride height rule makes it a little different.  The cars drive a little different, but a lot of speed in it so hopefully that means good things for the Daytona 500 and we can just kind of get through the week smooth. Learned a lot in that little draft pack that we had right there.  Hopefully, that applies in the (Can-Am) Duels and I can keep that going.”

The drafting began early in second practice with Suarez setting the pace with a speed of 197.316mph. Before the 20-minute mark, Danica Patrick topped Suarez with a lap of 197.685mph. Hamlin ran third (197.304) followed by Ty Dillon (197.282), Matt DiBenedetto (197.087), Brendan Gaughan (197.010), DJ Kennington (196.708), Jeffrey Earnhardt (196.292) Alex Bowman (194.452) and Kurt Busch (194.187).

Halfway through the session, Kasey Kahne led a pack of Chevys with Bubba Wallace and Ty Dillon in tow. Kahne climbed up to ninth (195.993) followed by Wallace in 10th (195.933). Dillon’s 19 laps were the most completed to that point.

Just before the 30-minute mark, William Byron joined the conga line. Byron bounced up to 10th. Over the next 10 minutes, he posted the top speed of 201.681mph with a push from Menard. With a third of the field in the pack, Byron’s car wiggled and nearly made contact with Hamlin.

“That was the place I got free, when he got to my outside,” Byron told spotter Tab Boyd.

Logano, Hamlin, Ragan, Menard, Bayne, Suarez, Stenhouse, Blaney and McDowell rounded out the top 10. Stenhouse moved up to second with 10 minutes remaining. Logano, Hamlin, Ragan, Menard, Bayne, Suarez, Blaney and McDowell completed the top 10.

“I feel pretty comfortable there,” Ragan said. “There’s a little bit of a disadvantage at the bottom… Not as good as I had hoped for.”

With two minutes to go, Gray Gaulding made the first laps of the weekend in the No. 23 BK Racing car.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 24 united_states William Byron  Chevrolet 18 44.625     201.681
2 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 13 44.632 0.007 0.007 201.649
3 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 20 44.641 0.016 0.009 201.608
4 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 24 44.673 0.048 0.032 201.464
5 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 15 44.764 0.139 0.091 201.054
6 21 united_states Paul Menard  Ford 14 44.770 0.145 0.006 201.027
7 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 10 44.915 0.290 0.145 200.378
8 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 21 44.949 0.324 0.034 200.227
9 12 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 12 45.056 0.431 0.107 199.751
10 34 united_states Michael McDowell  Ford 11 45.116 0.491 0.060 199.486
11 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 18 45.153 0.528 0.037 199.322
12 10 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 15 45.153 0.528 0.000 199.322
13 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 13 45.166 0.541 0.013 199.265
14 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 10 45.357 0.732 0.191 198.426
15 51 united_states Justin Marks  Chevrolet 13 45.430 0.805 0.073 198.107
16 7 united_states Danica Patrick  Chevrolet 12 45.527 0.902 0.097 197.685
17 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 22 45.620 0.995 0.093 197.282
18 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 9 45.665 1.040 0.045 197.087
19 62 united_states Brendan Gaughan  Chevrolet 19 45.683 1.058 0.018 197.010
20 96 canada D.J. Kennington  Toyota 5 45.753 1.128 0.070 196.708
21 00 united_states Jeffrey Earnhardt  Chevrolet 12 45.850 1.225 0.097 196.292
22 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 18 45.909 1.284 0.059 196.040
23 95 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 18 45.918 1.293 0.009 196.002
24 9 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 6 46.272 1.647 0.354 194.502
25 88 united_states Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 1 46.284 1.659 0.012 194.452
26 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 7 46.347 1.722 0.063 194.187
27 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 9 46.371 1.746 0.024 194.087
28 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 7 46.433 1.808 0.062 193.828
29 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 1 46.433 1.808 0.000 193.828
30 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 4 46.441 1.816 0.008 193.794
31 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 15 46.630 2.005 0.189 193.009
32 20 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 8 46.652 2.027 0.022 192.918
33 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 3 46.725 2.100 0.073 192.616
34 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 8 46.760 2.135 0.035 192.472
35 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 7 47.294 2.669 0.534 190.299
36 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 8 47.302 2.677 0.008 190.267
37 92 united_states David Gilliland  Ford 12 47.752 3.127 0.450 188.474
38 72 united_states Corey Lajoie  Chevrolet 8 49.062 4.437 1.310 183.441
39 66 united_states Mark Thompson  Ford 2 49.195 4.570 0.133 182.945
40 23 united_states Gray Gaulding  Toyota 1 50.239 5.614 1.044 179.144
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