NASCAR season opens quietly at Daytona with first practice sessions

Cars took to the track for the first tie Friday at Daytona (Getty Images)
Cars took to the track for the first time Friday at Daytona (Getty Images)
Cars took to the track for the first time Friday at Daytona (Getty Images)

Friday the 13th was not an unlucky day at Daytona International Speedway. Twenty-five  cars that will make up the non-points paying NASCAR Sprint Unlimited Saturday night endured two practice sessions Friday without a single on-track incident. The 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, Kurt Busch, led the first session (200.749 mph); four-time series champion Jeff Gordon, starting his final season, led the second session (196.764).

In the final session only 14 of the 25 cars took advantage of the open track.  The only incident occurred on pit road as Denny Hamlin ran out of gas. Beyond that there was little drama as most only took a few laps before heading to the garage. Away from the track, driver Tony Stewart and NASCAR had some issues earlier in the day. NASCAR requires all drivers to weigh in and Stewart was visibly upset after NASCAR officials ordered him to the scales, which he refused to do.  He and his crew chief Chad Johnston were summoned to the NASCAR hauler and after about 10 minutes, Stewart emerged and went to the scales. MORE>>>

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 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 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.