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Danica impresses in Daytona 500 practices

February 16, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com

Danica impresses in Daytona 500 practices
Patrick maintains recent Daytona success with blazing time

On the heels of her impressive showing at last month’s Preseason Thunder testing, Danica Patrick continued her success at Daytona International Speedway in the first two sessions of Daytona 500 practice Saturday.

PRACTICE RESULTS: Saturday's Daytona 500 practices

Patrick and Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Tony Stewart grabbed the top two spots in the day’s second session after the driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet notched third in the opener.

Patrick, who finished 38th in her Daytona 500 debut last season and finished 10th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series final points standings, only ran two laps in the initial practice. She made the second one count, running a lap of 46.069 seconds with a top speed of 195.359 mph.

“That was a really good, clean cold car run that we feel good about," Patrick said after her first session.

She improved on that the second time around, hitting 196.220 on the radar, running a best lap of 45.867.

It’s a safe assumption that with her early excellence, Patrick is a fan of the Generation-6 car.

"That was a really good, clean cold car run that we feel good about."

-- Danica Patrick

QUALIFYING: Sunday's order

“We’re trying to be smart. …Trying to be as accurate as possible,” she said following the second practice of the day. “I think so far, so good at Daytona. This is a testament to how consistent the (new) car is.”

Stewart registered the second fastest time of the second practice, finishing his second lap in 46.068 (195.363). He was 11th  fastest the first time around with a 46.237 lap.

Stewart was 0.180 seconds behind Joey Logano, who was the first practice’s fastest driver. Logano earned the fastest lap with a time of 46.057 with a top speed of 195.41.

Twenty-two-year-old Austin Dillon, in his initial Daytona 500 practice, was right behind Logano with a lap time of 46.085 (195.291) in his fifth lap. Dillon was followed by Patrick, Paul Menard and Jeff Burton to round out the top five.

Juan Pablo Montoya blew an engine midway through his second practice session to end his day, but was seemingly unphased.

“We will change the motor and give it a good go in qualifying,” said the driver of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet.

Matt Kenseth, the winner of last season’s Great American Race, clocked in at a speed of 194.175, with a best lap time of 46.350 for 16th. He improved to 11th in the second session.

Reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski was 31st with a best lap time of 46.487 (193.603 mph). The champ only slightly moved up in the second session, clocking in at a slower 46.495 for 27th place.

Sunday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying begins at 1 p.m. on FOX.

 

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