Harrison Burton Leads Daytona 500 Final Practice

Wood Brothers Racing driver Harrison Burton was fastest in Daytona 500 final practice.
Harrison Burton Leads Daytona 500 Final Practice

The checkered flag has fallen on the final practice session for the Cup Series ahead of the Daytona 500. Only 19 drivers participated in the final tune-up on Saturday morning, with rookie Harrison Burton fastest at 188.355 mph. The driver of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing machine topped the affiliated Team Penske duo of Joey Logano and fellow rookie Austin Cindric.

Stewart-Haas Racing drivers Kevin Harvick and Chase Briscoe rounded out the top five. Completing the top ten of the session were Ryan Blaney, Cole Custer, Aric Almirola, Daniel Hemric, and Justin Haley.

The top eight cars on Saturday were all powered by Ford. A Ford driver was fastest in every practice session this week, and Ford drivers won the two Duel races on Thursday night.

Burton will make his first Daytona 500 start from 8th position tomorrow. “It feels ready,” Burton said. “It’s just a testament to these Wood Brothers guys. We hit pretty hard and pretty much had to redo the whole front end of the race car. It took us the whole day yesterday to do it. We’ve got good speed. The handling seems pretty good. It’s kind of hard to tell until you get out there. The real big pack is always different than a pack of four cars, so I’m trying to relay as much information as I can.”

What was supposed to be a 50-minute session was slightly shortened after a delay to get cars on track after a brief sprinkling of rain drops. The limited participation was not a surprise, as many teams felt as though they wouldn't be able to gain anything that would benefit them in the race. Others used the opportunity to work on drafting and pit-road entries for Sunday.

William Byron and Alex Bowman both practiced but the other two Hendrick Motorsports drivers did not. Kyle Larson is starting on pole tomorrow and Chase Elliott did not turn an official lap in his No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet.

Joe Gibbs Racing, 23XI Racing, RFK Racing, Trackhouse Racing, and Front Row Motorsports all opted to skip the final practice. Logano ran the most laps (25) driving his backup car after crashing out in the Duel races. There were no incidents in the session.

Jacques Villeneuve told Fox Sports that his No. 27 Team Hezeberg Ford Mustang dropped a valve. The team will make an engine change before tomorrow’s race. The Indy 500 winner and Formula One champion was already lined up to start last in the 40-car field.

All cars will now stay in the garage area overnight as they wait for the big day tomorrow. Coverage for the 64th annual Daytona 500 begins at 2:30 PM ET on FOX.

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