Shootout Practice Tops 203 mph

203 mph

Four drivers went faster than 201 mph in the final practice session. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

Shootout Lineup | Final Practice Speeds | 1st Practice Speeds

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Lightning-fast speeds were the order of the night in Friday's Budweiser Shootout practice session at Daytona International Speedway with ten drivers topping 200 mph.

The cool evening temperatures and Daytona's brand new asphalt surface as well as the phenomenon of two-car drafting added up to Joey Logano turning a lap of 203.087 mph to earn the top spot on the speed chart. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch was next with a lap of 203.085 mph.

Those were unofficially the fastest Sprint Cup Series laps run at Daytona since Sterling Marlin won the pole for the 1986 July race with a lap of 203.666 mph. Bill Elliott still holds the track qualifying record at 210.364 mph, the last time Cup cars did not use restrictor plates at the track.

Michael Waltrip (202.152 mph), Bobby Labonte (201.839 mph) and Greg Biffle (200.951 mph) rounded out the top five.

The high speeds immediately started speculation that NASCAR would utilize smaller restrictor plates as Speedweeks progresses but no official word has come yet from the sanctioning body.

However, not everyone believes the speeds are too much including Dale Earnhardt Jr., who led the first session at just a notch below 200 mph.

"I wish we were going about 220. That would be awesome. That would feel pretty good," Earnhardt said.

Earnhardt Jr., who won the 2003 and 2008 Shootouts, drew the pole for Saturday’s race. Kevin Harvick, who is shooting for his third straight Budweiser Shootout victory, will start 18th.

Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout is set for 8 p.m. ET.

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