NASCAR Cup Series

Fords dominate both Daytona 500 practices

3 Mins read
Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Daytona 500 practice on Tuesday gave teams and drivers the opportunity to figure out the new Next Gen car, as well as prepare for Thursday’s Bluegreen Vacations Duel and Sunday’s race by testing out drafting with their team-mates. As such, many of the fastest times in the two practices were of the same manufacturer. The Fords in particular enjoyed a strong practice as Michael McDowell and Ryan Blaney led contingents of Fords in each session.

McDowell, the defending Daytona 500 winner, led the way in Practice #1 with four other Fords behind him. David Ragan, his former team-mate at Front Row Motorsports and 2011 Daytona 2 winner, was second followed by rookie and FRM driver Todd Gilliland. RFK Racing‘s Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher followed.

The manufacturer drafting groups continued with Joe Gibbs Racing and 23XI Racing Toyotas rounding out the top ten followed by Hendrick Motorsports and JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolets. Greg Biffle, driving for NY Racing Team, was the fastest of the six non-chartered cars that must qualify or race their ways into the 500.

“We wanted to get out in that group and just kind of play around with the draft and not put ourselves in a bad situation where you’re two or three wide, but just kind of line up so it worked out well,” said McDowell. “We were lined up four or five of the Fords and then we were catching the Toyota pack, so lap time here is very situational on where you get the draft and where you get the runs, but I feel really good about our Ford Mustang. We had good speed and it drove pretty well. It did all the things you’re looking to do with minimal practice and not being in that three, four-wide crazy situation, so I feel good.”

Blaney continued the manufacturer split in Practice #2 as Team Penske team-mate Joey Logano tailed. Unlike the first session, the entire top ten was filled with Fords. Rick Ware Racing‘s Cody Ware, the beneficiary of a new alliance with Ford, was fourth quickest, and he raised eyebrows when fans noticed his lowered window net and raised helmet visor while running in the draft; while both are glaring safety concerns, Formula 4 United States Championship driver Cade McKee commented that the visor being up is not uncommon in sports car racing, and is done if a visor is tinted and the race has a day-to-night transition.

Kaz Grala of the new The Money Team Racing was twenty-second as the fastest Open car in Practice #2. Former IndyCar and Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve, aiming for his Daytona 500 début, was at the bottom of the charts in both sessions in fortieth and forty-first of forty-two drivers, and he along with those like MBM MotorsportsTimmy Hill and J.J. Yeley will need surprisingly fast paces in qualifying or the Duels if they hope to make the race.

Single-car qualifying will take place on Wednesday.

Practice #1 results

PositionNumberDriverTeamManufacturerBest TimeBest Speed (mph)LapsMargin
134Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFord46.696192.73625Leader
215David RaganRick Ware RacingFord46.713192.66618+ 0.017
338Todd GillilandFront Row MotorsportsFord46.717192.64920+ 0.021
46Brad KeselowskiRFK RacingFord46.729192.60021+ 0.033
517Chris BuescherRFK RacingFord46.736192.57122+ 0.040
619Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyota47.075191.18419+ 0.379
723Bubba Wallace23XI RacingToyota47.081191.16027+ 0.385
811Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota47.083191.15222+ 0.387
945Kurt Busch23XI RacingToyota47.085191.14420+ 0.389
1018Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyota47.089191.12727+ 0.393
119Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet47.114191.02616+ 0.418
1248Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet47.121190.99813+ 0.425
135Kyle LarsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet47.133190.94919+ 0.437
1447Ricky Stenhouse Jr.JTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet47.386189.93015+ 0.690
1520Christopher BellJoe Gibbs RacingToyota47.497189.48627+ 0.801
164Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas RacingFord47.552189.26616+ 0.856
1744Greg Biffle*NY Racing TeamChevrolet47.827188.17810+ 1.131
1862Noah Gragson*Beard MotorsportsChevrolet47.850188.08814+ 1.154
1951Cody WareRick Ware RacingFord48.496185.58215+ 1.800
2024William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet48.556185.3539+ 1.860
213Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet48.661184.95313+ 1.965
2299Daniel SuárezTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet48.680184.88110+ 1.984
238Tyler ReddickRichard Childress RacingChevrolet48.788184.47216+ 2.092
2416Daniel Hemric*Kaulig RacingChevrolet48.843184.2647+ 2.147
2521Harrison BurtonWood Brothers RacingFord49.043183.5127+ 2.347
262Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord49.051183.48210+ 2.355
2766Timmy Hill*MBM MotorsportsFord49.202182.9198+ 2.506
287Corey LaJoieSpire MotorsportsChevrolet49.240182.77811+ 2.544
2910Aric AlmirolaStewart-Haas RacingFord49.280182.63011+ 2.584
301Ross ChastainTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet49.285182.6119+ 2.589
3142Ty DillonPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet49.329182.4488+ 2.633
3214Chase BriscoeStewart-Haas RacingFord49.403182.17513+ 2.707
3322Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord49.410182.14917+ 2.714
3455J.J. Yeley*MBM MotorsportsFord49.455181.98414+ 2.759
3543Erik JonesPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet49.505181.8006+ 2.809
3631Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet49.646181.2837+ 2.950
3741Cole CusterStewart-Haas RacingFord49.704181.0726+ 3.008
3877Landon Cassill*Spire MotorsportsChevrolet49.843180.56711+ 3.147
3912Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFord49.848180.5493+ 3.152
4027Jacques VilleneueveTeam HezebergFord49.870180.46918+ 3.174
4150Kaz Grala*The Money Team RacingChevrolet50.207179.2585+ 3.511
4278B.J. McLeodLive Fast MotorsportsFord50.671177.6161+ 3.975
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Cup points
Underscore – Open car, have to qualify on time or Duel finish

Practice #2 results

PositionNumberDriverBest TimeBest Speed (mph)LapsMargin
112Ryan Blaney46.732192.58824Leader
222Joey Logano46.842192.13525+ 0.110
341Cole Custer47.095191.10317+ 0.363
451Cody Ware47.096191.09912+ 0.364
517Chris Buescher47.099191.08716+ 0.367
621Harrison Burton47.114191.02617+ 0.382
714Chase Briscoe47.134190.94520+ 0.402
82Austin Cindric47.135190.94118+ 0.403
96Brad Keselowski47.146190.89613+ 0.414
1010Aric Almirola47.266190.41221+ 0.534
1199Daniel Suárez48.025187.40218+ 1.293
124Kevin Harvick48.042187.33624+ 1.310
1377Landon Cassill*48.280186.41313+ 1.548
1447Ricky Stenhouse Jr.48.358186.11210+ 1.626
158Tyler Reddick48.401185.94722+ 1.669
1631Justin Haley48.621185.10514+ 1.889
177Corey LaJoie48.626185.0865+ 1.894
189Chase Elliott48.738184.66110+ 2.006
195Kyle Larson48.976183.7635+ 2.244
2048Alex Bowman49.020183.5996+ 2.288
2116Daniel Hemric*49.190182.9646+ 2.458
2250Kaz Grala*49.270182.66711+ 2.538
2320Christopher Bell49.302182.5488+ 2.570
2419Martin Truex Jr.49.308182.5269+ 2.576
251Ross Chastain49.453181.9912+ 2.721
2624William Byron49.468181.9368+ 2.736
2711Denny Hamlin49.482181.8849+ 2.750
2834Michael McDowell49.505181.8005+ 2.773
2945Kurt Busch49.518181.7527+ 2.786
3018Kyle Busch49.556181.6138+ 2.824
3123Bubba Wallace49.557181.6095+ 2.825
3262Noah Gragson*49.564181.58313+ 2.832
333Austin Dillon49.628181.34912+ 2.896
3443Erik Jones49.713181.0392+ 2.981
3542Ty Dillon49.858180.5133+ 3.126
3644Greg Biffle*50.017179.9395+ 3.285
3738Todd Gilliland50.110179.6054+ 3.378
3815David Ragan50.167179.4014+ 3.435
3978B.J. McLeod50.342178.7774+ 3.610
4066Timmy Hill*50.512178.1757+ 3.780
4127Jacques Villeneueve50.550178.0429+ 3.818
4255J.J. Yeley*51.214175.7338+ 4.482
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About author
Justin is a History major at San Jose State University and lifelong racing fan who has worked for The Checkered Flag since 2018. His coverage mainly focuses on NASCAR, the Stadium Super Trucks, and off-road series like Extreme E and SCORE International. He also dabbles in other disciplines such as IndyCar, rallycross, and sports cars.
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