After crashing out of the Clash practice, Denny Hamlin and his team decided to take things easy and not get involved in any drafting practice. The rest of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates did not follow suit as they worked the draft among themselves and took the top-3 spots in the practice speed charts. The rest of the 42 car field was split in their strategy as not all teams decided to try the draft. Only the Top-11 cars on the speed charts were drafting.
The two Saturday practice sessions are the only chances the Cup Series teams have to get track time before Qualifying. These sessions are normally only single car runs, where teams try to tune their car in for Qualifying on Sunday. However, before, the teams would have practices on Wednesday and Thursday to prepare for the Qualifying Duel races on Thursday night. Now, with no practice sessions between Qualifying on Sunday and the Duel races on Thursday, teams are taking the opportunity to get a feel for their car in the draft. Since Qualifying on Sunday only determines the first two starting spots, it would make sense to spend more track time to prepare for the races.
Also noteworthy are the six unchartered teams that will have to fight for four available spots into the Daytona 500. They will be split into each Duel so that there are 3 unchartered cars in each race. The highest finishing unchartered car in each race will be in the Daytona 500. Among the remaining 4 unchartered cars, the 2 fastest in Qualifying this Sunday will take the final spots in the Daytona 500.
First Daytona 500 Practice results:
(i) – ineligible for Cup points
* – unchartered
|1||19||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||45.937||195.920|
|4||31*||Tyler Reddick (i)||Chevy||46.369||194.095|
|6||62*||Brendan Gaughan (i)||Chevy||46.386||194.024|
|11||96*||Parker Kligerman (i)||Toyota||46.829||192.189|
|24||71*||Ryan Truex (i)||Chevy||47.440||189.713|
|33||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||47.790||188.324|
|38||15||Ross Chastain (i)||Chevy||48.316||186.274|
|39||00||Landon Cassill (i)||Chevy||48.387||186.000|
|41||51||BJ McLeod (i)||Chevy||49.578||181.532|
|42||66*||Joey Gase (i)||Toyota||50.142||179.490|