Earnhardt leads final practice at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 23: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, speaks with crew members in the garage before practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 23:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, speaks with crew members in the garage before practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 23: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, speaks with crew members in the garage before practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. led the final ‘happy hour’ practice at Daytona International Speedway Saturday as teams got their final laps in prior to Sunday’s Daytona 500.

The ninety minute session was calm as drivers made careful laps in order to avoid disaster. In fact most teams ran no more than 10 laps with only 5 teams running more then 20 laps. Earnhardt’s speed of 198.592 came in a drafting pack early in the session. Nine teams elected to sit out the session including Jeff Gordon who will start from the front row on Sunday.

“I think the more accidents you see earlier in the week, the less people want to practice the day before the Daytona 500,” Gordon said. “I feel like we, for us, all I can speak for is us, we’ve had a good week. I think we learned a lot in the 150 (Duel Qualifying Race), and we just need to fine tune. We were able to do that yesterday, so we don’t really reason.  If there was something that popped up that we wanted to try and do, then we’d be out there today.” MORE>>>

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.