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Ricky Stenhouse, Danica Patrick in top 3 fastest in Friday’s first Sprint Cup practice

Feb 21, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT

Subway Fresh Fit 500 - Qualifying Getty Images

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – With rain approaching, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Danica Patrick both acted like they had a fast-approaching lunch reservation with each other during Friday’s morning Sprint Cup practice session.

Stenhouse was the only driver in the 29-car session to exceed 197 mph, with a fast lap of 197.027 mph. Patrick was third-fastest, clocking in at 196.915 mph for third-fastest. Greg Biffle was second-fastest at 196.954 mph.

David Gilliland was fourth (196.863), followed by Tony Stewart (196.790), Jeff Gordon (196.066), Paul Menard (196.023), Ryan Newman (195.976), Kasey Kahne (195.967) and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top 10 (195.729).

Daytona 500 pole sitter Austin Dillon was only 21st fastest (190.428).

Several young drivers who made the field for Sunday’s Great American Race struggled to find speed in Friday’s first session (the second session in the afternoon is uncertain to occur due to off-and-on rain showers): Cole Whitt was 28th fastest (187.942) and Alex Bowman brought up the rear of the field (185.208).

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  1. smackingfools - Feb 21, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    I didn’t realize that other people were in the race. I thought only Austin Dillon was racing this weekend by the media coverage.

  2. richardomontlebahn - Feb 21, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    Ive got $$$ that says Dillon or Patrick either win or stay at front all day so media can talk about either the 3 coming back or the Patrick/Petty comments

  3. mssaustin - Feb 22, 2014 at 1:21 AM

    I’m afraid it will be Austin Dillion. He is a good driver but has has everything handed to him. Unlike drivers like Stewart who has been racing and doing whatever he could to get to the next race his entire adult life.

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