Cup testing at Daytona to go non-stop until 9 p.m. ET tonight

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A short while ago, NASCAR announced that a scheduled 30-minute break during today’s Sprint Cup Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway has been scratched, meaning teams will test continuously up to 9 p.m. ET tonight.

After morning rains forced an alteration to the original Friday schedule, it was announced that teams would run until 4:30 p.m. ET and then get back to work at 5 p.m. for a four-hour block of track time. However, that’s no longer the case.

Teams were initially scheduled to begin today at 9 a.m. ET. Finally, a little after 12:30 p.m. ET today, cars were given the go-ahead to take to the 2.5-mile oval.

A long night is ahead but as of this report, Richard Childress Racing rookie Austin Dillon leads the way with a lap at 192.930 miles per hour in the No. 3 Chevrolet. One of Dillon’s teammates, Brian Scott, lies third at 192.258 mph, with Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin in between at P2 (192.765 mph).

Former Sprint Cup champion and current NASCAR TV analyst Rusty Wallace (pictured) has made several runs today in Brad Keselowski’s No. 2 Team Penske Ford. According to MRN’s Dustin Long, Wallace turned a quick lap of 190.937 mph in his second run, which was good for the seventh-fastest time of the day at that point.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.