DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Saturday’s opening practice session for the 59th annual Daytona 500 was all about the ‘Blue Oval Brigade’.
Ford and Roush Yates Engines combined to dominate the first round of on-track action for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Daytona Int’l Speedway, with the manufacturer claiming four of the top five and eight of the top 12 positions on the practice sheets at the end of a four-hour qualifying prep session.
The top man on the totem pole was 2015 Daytona 500 champion Joey Logano, who posted a best time of 46.604 seconds (193.116 mph) in the third hour of practice that held up the rest of the way.
The Connecticut native and his No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford will go for their second win in ‘The Great American Race’ in the last three years next Sunday (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM).
Richard Petty Motorsports and Aric Almirola nailed down the runner-up position at the end of the session, with Almirola touring the 2.5-mile oval in 46.619 seconds (193.054 mph) in his No. 43 Smithfield Ford.
Logano’s teammate Brad Keselowski, who is looking for his first-ever Daytona 500 pole when qualifying hits the track on Sunday, was third (46.621/193.046) in the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford.
Kyle Larson was the fastest Chevrolet in fourth (46.624/193.034), while Ryan Blaney (46.637/192.980) and the Wood Brothers rounded out the ‘Fast Five’.
Daniel Suarez was both the fastest rookie and the fastest Toyota in sixth, followed by Kasey Kahne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Trevor Bayne and Clint Bowyer.
In his first Cup appearance since last summer at Kentucky Speedway, before he sat out the remainder of the year with a concussion, Dale Earnhardt Jr. put the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet 11th on the board.
Other notables further down the order included two-time 500 winner Matt Kenseth in 14th, seven-time and defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson in 15th, 2007 winner Kevin Harvick in 20th, 2010 winner Jamie McMurray in 24th and 2013 polesitter Danica Patrick in 25th.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams return to the track on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET for Coors Light Pole Qualifying, which will set the front row for the Daytona 500.
Live coverage will be carried on FOX, the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90. Chase Elliott is the defending Daytona 500 polesitter.
Practice results can be viewed on the next page…