Hamlin tops Sprint Unlimited practice as NASCAR Sprint Cup action begins

Denny Hamlin was quickest in the first official NASCAR Sprint Cup action of 2014 as he led practice for the non-championship Sprint Unlimited at Daytona on Friday night

Hamlin tops Sprint Unlimited practice as NASCAR Sprint Cup action begins

Hamlin's 45.030-second lap in his Joe Gibbs Toyota could earn him pole for the Saturday evening event, in which the grid line-up is one of the options determined by a fan vote.

Practice times, 2013 championship standings or career pole tally are the three possibilities for deciding the starting order that fans can vote for via the NASCAR website until half an hour before the race start.

NASCAR's revamp: madness or genius?

There are also votes to decide how many laps feature in each of the three segments that the race is divided into, and the restart order for the final segment, which could be set by either fastest laps from earlier in the race, fastest pitstop times, or the most laps led. That vote is open until the end of segment two of the race.

Only previous winners of the Unlimited (formerly Shootout) and 2013 Cup pole winners are eligible to take part in the race, which this year has an 18-car field.

Hendrick's Dale Earnhardt Jr was quickest in opening practice on Friday night ahead of Busch brothers Kyle and Kurt, with Jamie McMurray and Ricky Stenhouse Jr closest to Hamlin in practice two.

The full Cup field will take to the track for the first time on Saturday, with two practice sessions for next weekend's Daytona 500 before the Unlimited race at 8pm local time.

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NASCAR's revamp: madness or genius?
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