Jeff Gordon fastest in second practice for Sprint Unlimited at Daytona

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Jeff Gordon paced the last practice for his final Sprint Unlimited, turning a 196.764-mph lap Friday in his No. 24 Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway.

After a late afternoon practice marked teams knocking the rust off from the offseason (defending series champion Kevin Harvick was penalized for a blend violation on his first lap, and Tony Stewart was black-flagged because he hadn’t completed a mandatory weigh-in), the nighttime session was uneventful.

Only 14 Sprint Cup cars turned laps in the session after all 25 eligible for Saturday night’s preseason exhibition were on track during the first practice of the 2015 season. Denny Hamlin (196.524), Kyle Busch (196.202), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (196.168) and Aric Almirola (196.113) rounded out the top five for the second practice, which ended at 7:25 p.m.

Friday’s practices and Saturday’s 75-lap event will be the final opportunity for teams to tune up under cooler evening conditions for Thursday’s Budweiser Duel qualifying races, which will set the field for the Daytona 500. The first practice for Daytona 500 cars is Saturday at 10:30 a.m. (with another at 1:30 p.m.), and Daytona 500 qualifying is at 1:35 p.m. Sunday. There will be two afternoon practices Wednesday and a noon practice Thursday.

The speed chart for Friday’s second practice:

  1. Jeff Gordon 196.764
  2. Denny Hamlin, 196.524
  3. Kyle Busch, 196.202
  4. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 196.168
  5. Aric Almirola, 196.113
  6. Tony Stewart, 195.865
  7. Kyle Larson, 194.700
  8. Kevin Harvick, 192.526
  9. Brad Keselowski, 192.197
  10. Jimmie Johnson, 192.193
  11. Joey Logano, 192.090
  12. Kurt Busch, 190.791
  13. Jamie McMurray, 190.545
  14. Kasey Kahne, 189.338

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