DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – While Jimmie Johnson was squeezing speed out of his Chevrolet in single-car runs, the most formidable Toyotas in the field were dominating the speed chart in a mini-draft.
Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards hooked up with Furniture Row affiliate Martin Truex Jr. to post the fastest four laps in Friday’s second Daytona 500 practice session.
Hamlin, who won last Saturday’s Sprint Unlimited, had the top speed at 199.658 mph, followed by Busch (198.640 mph), the winner of Thursday’s second Can-Am Duel, and Truex, who matched Busch’s speed in a backup car necessitated by the same wreck that KO’d Johnson on Thursday night.
Edwards was fourth fastest at 198.610 mph, and after those four drivers established the draft, JGR teammate Matt Kenseth, another victim of the last-lap wreck in the second Duel, joined party in a backup car.
“We seemed to have pretty good speed out there,” said Kenseth, who was fifth on the chart at 198.566 mph. “I got to run with my teammates there a little bit, and that was encouraging, and the single-car speed seemed like it was pretty much as good as the other car.
“These guys build great race cars, and I feel pretty bad that I’ve been wrecking ‘em all. I appreciate all the work they’re doing, and hopefully we’ll get this thing all tuned in tomorrow (during Saturday’s final practice) and be good on Sunday.”
Kenseth had qualified second for the Daytona 500 during last Sunday’s time trials, but must drop to the rear of the field to start the race in the backup No. 20 Toyota.