DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Over a third of the field for Sunday’s Daytona 500 decided to forego Saturday’s final practice for the Great American Race.
Only 27 cars took to Daytona International Speedway for the 1 ½ hour session.
Kurt Busch was the fastest driver, turning in a top speed of 197.624 mph, one of six drivers to crack the 197 mph mark.
Kasey Kahne (197.490), Jamie McMurray (197.472), Carl Edwards (197.070) and Martin Truex Jr. (197.057) rounded out the top five fastest drivers.
Truex’s speed was notable in that he had to go with a backup car after wrecking at the end of the second Budweiser Duel on Thursday.
“I was definitely relieved to get some time in the car,” Truex said. “Honestly, I am really excited about this race car. Without a shadow of a doubt this car is better than the one we ran the other night in the qualifying race. The Furniture Row guys did another good job. I even hate to call this car a backup because of how good it felt.”
Slowest was Parker Kligerman, who virtually crawled, over 10 mph slower than the leaders, at 187.025 mph.
All four Richard Childress Racing cars were conspicuous by their absence in Saturday’s practice, including pole-sitter Austin Dillon, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman and Brian Scott.
Others missing were: Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Marcos Ambrose, Dale Earnhardt Jr., David Gilliland, Landon Cassell, Cole Whitt, Alex Bowman, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Kyle Busch.
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