(Updated) Second Sprint Cup practice in Daytona cancelled due to rain; McMurray, Larson fastest in first practice

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Having previously won the Daytona 500 in 2010 and the Coke Zero 400 in 2007, Jamie McMurray knows his way around Daytona International Speedway pretty well.

That’s why it’s no surprise McMurray was the fastest in the first of two practice sessions Thursday in preparation for Friday’s qualifying and then Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup main event.

(Updated) The second practice session was cancelled due to rain and thunderstorms in the DIS area.

And oh, did McMurray fly around the 2.5-mile, high-banked track, recording a field-best speed of 201.952 mph, followed by Sprint Cup rookie and Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Kyle Larson, who was second-fastest at 201.889 mph.

Third- through fifth-fastest were Clint Bowyer (201.839), Kentucky winner Brad Keselowski (201.771) and Jeff Gordon (201.712).

Sixth through 10th were Joey Logano (201.654), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (201.590), Greg Biffle (201.261), Landon Cassill (200.714) and Martin Truex Jr. (200.696).

All told, 18 drivers exceed the 200 mph mark.

Among more notable performances:

* Danica Patrick was 15th fastest (200.405 mph), followed by Kyle Busch (200.356).

* Kurt Busch was 23rd fastest (199.238 mph), followed closely by 2014 winless drivers Matt Kenseth (199.137), Tony Stewart (199.089) and Kasey Kahne (198.965).

* Dale Earnhardt Jr. struggled to a 32nd fastest speed of 198.247 mph, while teammate Jimmie Johnson was the third-slowest in the entire field, unable to turn a lap faster than 191.274 mph, more than 10 mph slower than McMurray’s pace-setting lap.

* Michael Waltrip was 43rd fastest of 44 (191.010 mph), while two-time Cup champion Terry Labonte recorded the slowest speed at 190.678 mph.

With the second practice session cancelled, qualifying will take place at 5:10 pm ET on Friday afternoon — weather permitting, of course.

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NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.