Daytona 500: William Byron leads eventful pre-qualifying practice
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.
|2||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||13||44.632||0.007||0.007||201.649|
|22||43||Darrell Wallace Jr.||Chevrolet||18||45.909||1.284||0.059||196.040|
|34||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||8||46.760||2.135||0.035||192.472|
Daytona 500: Kyle Busch tops opening practice session
D.J. Kennington finds speed in final practice at Daytona
About this article
|Location||Daytona International Speedway|
|Article type||Practice report|