clear
Sunday February 14th, 2016 12:07PM

Hamlin leads Sprint Unlimited practice at Daytona

By Mark Long, AP Sports Writer
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (AP) - Denny Hamlin posted the fastest lap in Friday night's practice for the Sprint Unlimited exhibition race, which kicks off the NASCAR season Saturday night.

Hamlin, who won the 2013 finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, reached 199.867 mph on the famed, 2½-mile track. Jamie McMurray was second, followed by Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick. All of those top speeds came in the second session, which was run after sunset.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. topped the first practice at 198.421 mph, just ahead of Kyle and Kurt Busch.

WDUN will have live coverage of tonight's NASCAR Sprint Unlimited from MRN Radio on on AM 550 and 102.9 FM beginning at 7 PM.

Here are some other things to know about what's going on at Daytona International Speedway as SpeedWeeks gets underway:

LATE ARRIVALS: Sprint Cup drivers Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr., who missed media day because a winter storm blanketed North Carolina with snow and ice, arrived Thursday evening and had an interesting travel story to share Friday. It took them more than an hour to get to the airport, and when they arrived, the runway was far from ready for takeoff. Newman had to use his pickup to rescue a dump truck, which was helping rid the runway of snow, and then the Richard Childress Racing newcomer broke up ice and slush by driving back and forth on the tarmac.

"It was an interesting day to say the least," Truex said. "We had a good time."

GERHART'S GRIPE: Bobby Gerhart took exception with ARCA officials Friday, questioning the accuracy and consistency of the series' pre-qualifying inspections. Gerhart, who has eight ARCA Series victories at Daytona, was one of five drivers whose qualifying times were disallowed following inspection. Gerhart wasn't happy, getting into a heated argument with ARCA officials.

"Same old stuff," he said. "They approved the car for competition, cleared it for qualifying and then in post-tech they didn't like what they liked the day before. If it's good one time, how can it not be good the next time?"

Gerhart, who has won six of the last nine ARCA races at Daytona and had the dominant car last year before a failed fuel pump ended his race, will have to start near the back of the field in Saturday's opener. Several others also failed inspection.

RISING STARS? Dylan Kwasniewski and Chase Elliott, both 18-year-old drivers who will make their Nationwide Series debuts next week, were among the fastest in ARCA qualifying Friday. Kwasniewski will start from the pole, with Elliott just a few spots back. Both are using the ARCA race to get superspeedway approval. Their early results could be a sign of things to come. Kwasniewski won the K&N Pro Series West in 2012 and then won the K&N Pro Series East last year. Elliott is the son of semi-retired NASCAR star Bill Elliott.

© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 1 year ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 1 year ago )
Sports
Pits will be tight as Chili Bowl entry count hits 316
TULSA, OK - The 29th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals presented by General Tire is on track to be a record smashing event, with the entry count climbing over the 300 mark for the first time to 316 entries confirming 303 drivers for the indoor spectacular happening Tuesday, January 13 through Saturday, January 17 at the Tulsa Expo Center in Tulsa, OK.
9:59AM ( 1 year ago )
Falcons fire Mike Smith after 2nd straight losing season
Mike Smith's status as the winningest coach in Falcons history wasn't enough to save his job. Owner Arthur Blank said he fired Smith on Monday because in his "heart of hearts" he didn't believe Smith could take the Falcons to the Super Bowl.
7:58PM ( 1 year ago )
New promoters in place for 2015 at Senoia Raceway
SENOIA, GA - Lease papers have been signed and a team of new promoters is in place for the upcoming stock car racing season at Senoia Raceway in Senoia, GA.
6:00AM ( 1 year ago )
Professional Sports
Garbo, Jr. to compete in NASCAR K&N East with Whelen sponsorship
CHARLOTTE, NC--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- When Marsh Racing and longtime team sponsor Whelen Engineering Company, Inc. got the opportunity to put together a race team for 2015, they looked closely at the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
12:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Former NASCAR racer pleads guilty in high-speed chase
ST. GEORGE, UT (AP)
12:51PM ( 1 year ago )
Chili Bowl entry list again nearing record 300 mark
TULSA, OK - For the past couple years, the entry list for the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals has flirted with the 300 mark. Once again, the number of teams registering for the indoor Midget event is nearing the three century mark with 285 entries received for the 29th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.
11:59AM ( 1 year ago )
NASCAR News
Kurt Buschs ex seeks no-contact order at hearing
DOVER, DE (AP)
12:27PM ( 1 year ago )
Sprint to end NASCAR sponsorship after 2016 season
CHARLOTTE, NC (AP)
2:54PM ( 1 year ago )
Sprint Unlimited field features Chase drivers for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - Coming off an exciting 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale, NASCAR announced Monday all 16 Chase drivers will be eligible to compete in the 2015 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway.
12:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Sprint Cup
Basketball: First round playoff schedule packed with area programs
A thrilling week of region basketball tournaments have left us drained -- and wanting more...
By AccessWDUN Staff
11:32PM ( 11 hours from now )
7-AAA Tournament: Lady Spartans seal magical run; Vikings go back to the top
One was relentless, the other resilient. One has been there before -- numerous times -- the other a novice.
10:09AM ( 1 hour ago )
8-AAAAA Tournament: Lady Falcons capture first-ever region crown; GHS boys fall to Cedar Shoals in title game
So far, the Flowery Branch girls basketball team is 4-for-4 on the season...
10:03AM ( 2 hours ago )
8-A Tournament: Lakeview boys and girls surge to region championships
Four months ago Todd Cottrell and John Carrick knew they had plenty of potential on their hands.
9:59AM ( 2 hours ago )
Brenau swimming claims second straight conference crown in dominant fashion
The Brenau University swim team overwhelmed second place Wheeling Jesuit (WV) University to capture its second straight Appalachian Swimming Conference (ASC) championship in Christiansburg, Va., on Saturday.
By AccessWDUN Staff
9:56AM ( 2 hours ago )