Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick led the two practice sessions Friday at Daytona International Speedway, in preparation for Sunday night’s Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola.
In the first of two practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, Earnhardt posted the day’s fastest lap of 202.284 miles per hour (44.492 seconds) on the 2.5-mile tri-oval, driving the No. 88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet. Earnhardt won the Coke Zero 400 in 2001 and has 15 victories at Daytona overall.
“We have a very fast car … a winning car,” Earnhardt said.
Patrick – the 2013 polesitter for the DAYTONA 500 – led the second session chart at 198.133 (45.424), driving the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet.
Early in the first practice there was an 11-car incident, including cars driven by former Coke Zero 400 champions Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray and Greg Biffle. Earnhardt established the session’s fastest lap prior to the incident, which started with Turn 2 contact involving Busch and Brad Keselowski. All drivers except Keselowski were forced to switch to back-up cars, as a result.
There also were two practices on Friday for Saturday night’s Subway Firecracker 250, the annual summer DIS race for the NASCAR XFINITY Series. David Ragan, driving the No. 20 Interstate Batteries Toyota, topped the first session at 190.573 (47.226). The second session was led by Ty Dillon in the No. 3 Yuengling America’s Oldest Brewery Chevrolet (179.978/50.006).
Qualifying for both of this weekend’s events will be held Saturday (NASCAR XFINITY Series at 2:35, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at 4:35), followed by the Subway Firecracker 250 at 7:45 p.m. (ET). Tickets for Saturday night’s Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola and Sunday night’s Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola can be purchased by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or visiting www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtags #CokeZero400 and #SubwayFirecracker250. Fans also can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for the latest news all season long. Fans can follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com.