Home » FEATURE STORY, NASCAR - Sprint Cup Series

Earnhardt Fast In Practice; Calls Car A Winner

| , RacinToday.com Friday, July 3 2015
Dale Earnhardt Jr. got off to a fast start in Daytona on Friday.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. got off to a fast start in Daytona on Friday. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick led the two practice sessions Friday at Daytona International Speedway, in preparation for Sunday night’s Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola Sprint Cup Series race

sprint-logo-08In the first of two practices, Earnhardt posted the day’s fastest lap of 202.284 miles per hour (44.492 seconds) on the 2.5-mile tri-oval, driving the No. 88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet. Earnhardt won the Coke Zero 400 in 2001 and has 15 victories at Daytona overall.

“We have a very fast car … a winning car,” Earnhardt said.

Patrick – the 2013 polesitter for the Daytona 500 – led the second session chart at 198.133 (45.424), driving the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet.

Early in the first practice there was an 11-car incident, including cars driven by former Coke Zero 400 champions Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray and Greg Biffle. Earnhardt established the session’s fastest lap prior to the incident, which started with Turn 2 contact involving Busch and Brad Keselowski. All drivers except Keselowski were forced to switch to back-up cars, as a result.

Busch, a winner last week on the road course at Sonoma Raceway, pointed his finger at Keslowski.

“I guess the 2 (Keselowski) got into my left rear and just spun us around,” Busch said. “All these guys at the shop and everybody, they work way too hard building race cars in general to be wrecking them in practice. There’s room to lift and sometimes people don’t.”

Asked if he expected an apology, Busch scoffed.
“I don’t care,” Busch said. “It’s his fault and he caused it, but I’ve also probably been in the same boat and caused them before. It’s practice. You don’t need to be up a guys’ left rear. I rolled out and got out of the gas I don’t know how many times during that session just to not run into the car in front of me just because it’s not that time of the game to go.”

McMurray was asked about the wreck too.

“Well, I think it’s way harder for the team than it is the drivers,” McMurray said. “The race, the year we won the 500, we were in our third car I believe; and knew it wasn’t that great of a car and we were still able to win with it. So, I’m not really frustrated. It’s just part of plate racing and hopefully it happened today and doesn’t happen in the race.”

Also involved was Martin Truex Jr.

“Everything happened so quickly,” Truex said. “Cars were starting to check-up and I then saw the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) starting to get sideways. I hit the brakes to try to slow down but for some reason our car just went straight into the wall. We have a lot of damage and will be going to a backup car. We’ll be fine.”

There also were two practices on Friday for Saturday night’s Subway Firecracker 250, the annual summer DIS race for the NASCAR XFINITY Series. David Ragan, driving the No. 20 Interstate Batteries Toyota, topped the first session at 190.573 (47.226). The second session was led by Ty Dillon in the No. 3 Yuengling America’s Oldest Brewery Chevrolet (179.978/50.006).

Qualifying for both of this weekend’s events will be held Saturday (NASCAR XFINITY Series at2:35, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at 4:35), followed by the Subway Firecracker 250 at 7:45 p.m. (ET). Tickets for Saturday night’s Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola and Sundaynight’s Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola can be purchased by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or visiting www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.

| , RacinToday.com Friday, July 3 2015
No Comment