Joey Logano, Ford Performance pace Daytona 500 qualifying practice

Jeff Speer/LVMS

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

If Saturday’s four-hour opening Daytona 500 practice is any indication, then the cars with blue ovals may be the ones to watch in Sunday’s qualifications.

Joey Logano led the way in the session, setting a top time of 46.604 seconds in his No. 22 Ford. Aric Almirola (46.619) and Logano’s Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski (46.621) followed to give Ford the top three laps in the session.

“So far it’s been a couple good practices for Penske and Ford, and now we’ll see how the races go,” Logano said. “Practice is really just practice.  There’s really nothing to it there.  We’ll just have to keep tuning it in to make sure we’re good in the races.”

As for his pole prospects, Logano was confident, but hesitant to make any promises.

“In all honesty, I’ve never been that fast in qualifying here in Daytona in my whole career,” Logano said. ” I feel like I’ve never had a shot at it, but now I feel like I’m closer than ever.  I feel like I’m kind of in new territory, plus I think some of these other guys sandbag a lot , so tomorrow will be the telltale sign.”

Kyle Larson (46.624) led the way for Chevrolet, splitting up a potential Ford quartet as Ryan Blaney (46.637) completed the top five.

Rookie Daniel Suarez was the top Toyota driver, ending the session in sixth with a time of 46.651 seconds. Kasey Kahne (46.677), Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (46.686), Trevor Bayne (46.692) and Clint Bowyer (46.693) completed the top 10.

In his first official series practice session since last July, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., came home just outside the top 10 in 11th.

“It felt good to just get out there and get to work a little bit and be with the guys and see all the familiar faces in the garage, other drivers and team members and so forth,” Earnhardt said. “Yeah, just trying to put as many laps as I can behind me and get further and further into this deal to where the events from last year become more of a distant memory and don’t define me as who I am so much anymore.

The session was slowed three times – twice for debris, and once when Reed Sorenson’s No. 55 Chevrolet blew a motor.

Practice results, via NASCAR

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