Byron Leads Final Daytona 500 Practice

Jared Tilton/Getty Images

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - RIS - William Byron had the fast speed in final Daytona 500 trim on Saturday. Byron led 18 laps with a top speed of 201.681mph. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who won twice in 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.

For those who don’t have a program for 2018, there were seven Fords, two Toyotas, and one Chevrolet in the top 10.  There will be no further practice sessions until the Great American Race, unless you consider the Can-Am Duels on Thursday as Practice.  The cars qualify tomorrow for the race at 12:00 Noon.

“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.”

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).

Byron had a couple of close calls during the practice when he drifted up the track in the draft, something he will be doing for nearly 500 miles on Sunday, February 18th.

“Yeah, that was one of those ‘Oh, shoot!’ moments, but that was a lot of fun,” Byron said. “That was the best chance for me to really learn what I needed to do in the draft.”

Ron Fleshman

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2018, Issue 2, Posted 9:50 PM, 02.10.2018