Bubba Wallace leads opening Daytona 500 practice


Wallace, in his first season driving for 23XI Racing – founded by NASCAR star Denny Hamlin and NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan – topped the 50-minute practice at Daytona International Speedway with an average lap speed of 199.746 mph.

Wallace posted the fast lap early in the practice session while five Toyotas briefly participated in a drafting run.

The session marked the first practice session for the Cup Series since March 6 of last year. Once the COVID-19 pandemic began, NASCAR eliminated all practice and qualifying sessions last season.

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This year, about eight Cup series race weekends will see practice and qualifying, including this week’s Daytona 500.

Martin Truex Jr. (199.693 mph) was second and Denny Hamlin (199.689 mph) – who has won the past two Daytona 500 races – was third. Kyle Busch and Christopher Bell rounded out the top-five.

Jamie McMurray was sixth-fastest (and the top Chevrolet), Corey LaJoie was seventh, Michael McDowell was eighth (and the top Ford), Ryan Newman was ninth and Cole Custer 10th.

All 44 entries for the Daytona 500 made it out during the session.

Qualifying to lock in the front row of the Daytona 500 begins at 7:30 p.m. ET tonight.

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