Column By: LINDSEY POWELL / RPW – DAYTONA BEACH, FL – Daytona International Speedway witnessed a clear Ford domination during both NASCAR Cup Series practices on Tuesday.
Michael McDowell and Ryan Blaney each led a trail of blue ovals to the checkered flag, gaining plenty of confidence heading into qualifying for the Daytona 500 Wednesday evening.
McDowell, being the current defending Daytona 500 champion, topped the charts in first practice with a lap time of 46.696 at a speed of 192.736 mph.
Ford went on to sweep the first five positions, with veteran drivers David Ragan and Chris Buescher finishing second and fifth, respectively.
Rookie driver Todd Gilliland made a remarkable impression very early in his first season, finishing third with a fast lap of 46.717.
Brad Keselowski, racing the newly redesigned RFK Racing number 6 entry, finished fourth in the session.
Second practice witnessed an even clearer Ford domination, with driver Ryan Blaney leading a blue oval sweep of the top ten. Blaney, being victorious at the track less than six months prior, led the Fords with a lap time of 46.732, just short of McDowell’s time from the first session.
Penske teammate Joey Logano finished second, along with rookie driver Austin Cindric finishing eighth in his number 2 Penske entry.
Stewart-Haas Racing remained part of the action, with 3 out of 4 of their entries finishing in the top ten; Custer (No. 41) – 3rd, Briscoe (No. 14) – 7th, Almirola (No. 10) – 10th.
Rookie Harrison Burton took home a sixth-place finish with a lap time of 47.114. Cody Ware finished fourth in the session, followed by Chris Buescher taking home another fifth-place position.
Cars will be back on the racing surface tonight around 8:00pm ET for the Busch Pole Qualifying which will set the front row for the 2022 Daytona 500, scheduled to start around 2:30pm ET on Sunday, February 20.