Joe Gibbs Racing swept the top four spots in the first practice for next week’s Daytona 500, with Kyle Busch running a 199.743mph lap during a session that was interrupted by a lengthy red flag.
Denny Hamlin trailed Busch by 0.027s, with Daniel Suarez (+0.133s) and Erik Jones (+0.226) not far behind. Chevy drivers Austin Dillon, Jamie McMurray and Ty Dillon took the next three spots, with Austin Dillon more than 2mph slower than Jones in fourth.
Ricky Stenhouse (195.389mph) was eighth fastest and the only Ford in the top 10. Rookie Alex Bowman was ninth fastest in the No.88 Chevy and Kyle Larson was 10th quickest.
The session was delayed for 16 minutes to clean up oil on the track that was likely caused by a car’s gear change. After the preceding Clash practice saw speeds near 200mph, NASCAR gave teams the option to change from a 3.60 to a 3.50. However, the change to 3.50 will be mandatory for the second 500 practice and the race. The Clash will still run 360. NASCAR says the change is more about the single-engine rule for the week than for the speed.
NEXT UP: Final Daytona 500 practice, 3:05 p.m. ET.