Bubba Wallace leads opening Daytona 500 practice

Bubba Wallace kicked off the first NASCAR Cup Series practice of the 2021 season putting his No. 23 Toyota at the top of the speed chart.

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.

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 23 United States Bubba Wallace Toyota 20 45.057     199.747
2 19 United States Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 19 45.069 0.012 0.012 199.694
3 11 United States Denny Hamlin Toyota 20 45.070 0.013 0.001 199.689
4 18 United States Kyle Busch Toyota 19 45.084 0.027 0.014 199.627
5 20 United States Christopher Bell Toyota 22 45.085 0.028 0.001 199.623
6 77 United States Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 13 45.145 0.088 0.060 199.358
7 7 United States Corey Lajoie Chevrolet 12 45.190 0.133 0.045 199.159
8 34 United States Michael McDowell Ford 14 45.236 0.179 0.046 198.957
9 6 United States Ryan Newman Chevrolet 11 45.307 0.250 0.071 198.645
10 41 United States Cole Custer Ford 15 45.387 0.330 0.080 198.295
11 43 United States Erik Jones Chevrolet 8 45.413 0.356 0.026 198.181
12 21 United States Matt DiBenedetto Ford 11 45.427 0.370 0.014 198.120
13 10 United States Aric Almirola Ford 13 45.489 0.432 0.062 197.850
14 17 United States Chris Buescher Ford 9 45.498 0.441 0.009 197.811
15 4 United States Kevin Harvick Ford 13 45.500 0.443 0.002 197.802
16 14 United States Chase Briscoe Ford 15 45.516 0.459 0.016 197.733
17 22 United States Joey Logano Ford 9 45.580 0.523 0.064 197.455
18 3 United States Austin Dillon Chevrolet 12 46.237 1.180 0.657 194.649
19 37 United States Ryan Preece Chevrolet 11 46.256 1.199 0.019 194.569
20 38 Anthony Alfredo Ford 10 46.373 1.316 0.117 194.078
21 47 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevrolet 6 46.897 1.840 0.524 191.910
22 5 United States Kyle Larson Chevrolet 13 47.279 2.222 0.382 190.359
23 48 United States Alex Bowman Chevrolet 8 47.465 2.408 0.186 189.613
24 2 United States Brad Keselowski Ford 5 47.489 2.432 0.024 189.518
25 99 Mexico Daniel Suarez Chevrolet 11 47.575 2.518 0.086 189.175
26 24 United States William Byron Chevrolet 8 47.599 2.542 0.024 189.080
27 1 United States Kurt Busch Chevrolet 12 47.602 2.545 0.003 189.068
28 96 United States Ty Dillon Toyota 6 47.611 2.554 0.009 189.032
29 9 United States Chase Elliott Chevrolet 11 47.680 2.623 0.069 188.758
30 16 United States Kaz Grala Chevrolet 1 47.781 2.724 0.101 188.359
31 36 United States David Ragan Ford 5 47.803 2.746 0.022 188.273
32 33 United States Austin Cindric Ford 7 47.828 2.771 0.025 188.174
33 8 United States Tyler Reddick Chevrolet 12 47.944 2.887 0.116 187.719
34 42 United States Ross Chastain Chevrolet 10 47.981 2.924 0.037 187.574
35 12 United States Ryan Blaney Ford 8 48.010 2.953 0.029 187.461
36 62 United States Noah Gragson Chevrolet 4 48.318 3.261 0.308 186.266
37 13 United States Garrett Smithley Ford 4 48.350 3.293 0.032 186.143
38 66 United States Timmy Hill Ford 5 48.352 3.295 0.002 186.135
39 00 United States Quin Houff Chevrolet 4 48.370 3.313 0.018 186.066
40 15 United States Derrike Cope Chevrolet 9 48.817 3.760 0.447 184.362
41 78 United States B.J. McLeod Ford 5 50.160 5.103 1.343 179.426
42 53 United States Joey Gase Ford 5 50.201 5.144 0.041 179.279
43 52 United States Josh Bilicki Ford 3 50.736 5.679 0.535 177.389
44 51 United States Cody Ware Chevrolet 2 50.821 5.764 0.085 177.092
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