Logano leads NASCAR Daytona 500 practice as Earnhardt Jr returns

Team Penske Ford driver Joey Logano topped practice ahead of next weekend's Daytona 500, as Dale Earnhardt Jr returned to competitive NASCAR Cup action following the concussion he suffered last year

Logano leads NASCAR Daytona 500 practice as Earnhardt Jr returns

After a four-hour qualifying practice - longer than most Daytona 500s - Logano topped the timesheets with a 46.604-second lap at an average speed of 193.116mph.

He was one of four Fords in the top five, with Aric Almirola second on a 46.619s (193.054mph) ahead of Brad Keselowski in third and Ryan Blaney fifth.

The pacesetting Fords were only split up by the Chip Ganassi Chevrolet of Kyle Larson in fourth, while rookie Daniel Suarez was sixth quickest.

Kasey Kahne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Trevor Bayne and Clint Bowyer completed the top 10.

Earnhardt was 11th quickest in his first competitive appearance since being sidelined with a concussion-related illness last summer.

"It's good to be doing some laps; good to be doing some work," Earnhardt said.

"The car seems to be doing all right.

"It's hard to tell where you line up against these guys. They're all doing something different, running different laps, more lines, stuff like that.

"We'd love to get on the front row, take a little pressure off of us."

The practice was slowed three times, twice for debris, and it was also red-flagged just past halfway when the engine blew in Reed Sorenson's car.

The NASCAR Cup season was due to unofficially kick off later on Saturday with the non-championship Clash event but this was postponed due to heavy rain.

It will now run ahead of qualifying for the Daytona 500 on Sunday.

PRACTICE TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 46.604s - 22
2 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 46.619s 0.015s 17
3 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 46.621s 0.017s 22
4 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 46.624s 0.020s 31
5 Ryan Blaney Wood Brothers Racing Ford 46.637s 0.033s 15
6 Daniel Suarez Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 46.651s 0.047s 27
7 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 46.677s 0.073s 11
8 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 46.686s 0.082s 20
9 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford 46.692s 0.088s 22
10 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 46.693s 0.089s 20
11 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 46.712s 0.108s 9
12 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 46.716s 0.112s 20
13 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 46.753s 0.149s 12
14 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 46.758s 0.154s 27
15 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 46.784s 0.180s 26
16 Erik Jones Furniture Row Racing Toyota 46.797s 0.193s 9
17 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 46.807s 0.203s 25
18 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 46.857s 0.253s 9
19 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 46.871s 0.267s 32
20 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 46.883s 0.279s 19
21 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 46.905s 0.301s 9
22 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 46.920s 0.316s 9
23 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Toyota 46.924s 0.320s 1
24 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 46.925s 0.321s 29
25 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 46.929s 0.325s 27
26 A.J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 46.939s 0.335s 11
27 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 47.106s 0.502s 13
28 Michael McDowell Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet 47.243s 0.639s 12
29 Landon Cassill Front Row Motorsports Ford 47.303s 0.699s 23
30 Matt DiBenedetto Go FAS Racing Ford 47.341s 0.737s 14
31 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 47.375s 0.771s 19
32 Brendan Gaughan Beard Motorsports Chevrolet 47.462s 0.858s 3
33 Elliott Sadler Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 47.478s 0.874s 14
34 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 47.488s 0.884s 10
35 Cole Whitt TriStar Motorsports Ford 47.512s 0.908s 19
36 Michael Waltrip Premium Motorsports Toyota 47.678s 1.074s 9
37 Joey Gase BK Racing Toyota 48.179s 1.575s 20
38 Reed Sorenson Premium Motorsports Toyota 48.241s 1.637s 5
39 D.J. Kennington Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota 48.261s 1.657s 15
40 Corey LaJoie BK Racing Toyota 48.523s 1.919s 10
41 Timmy Hill Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet 48.855s 2.251s 5
42 Jeffrey Earnhardt Circle Sport / TMG Chevrolet 48.938s 2.334s 5

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