Toyota stars Truex, Busch benched for Daytona 500 practice

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The biggest Toyota stars skipped the final practice for the Daytona 500, with former NASCAR champs Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch among the drivers sitting out.

There was little need to risk the cars and ruin a starting position for Sunday’s race. Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson had triggered a pair of crashes during exhibition races in Speedweeks that destroyed and damaged several cars, giving most teams little incentive to show what they had in the final tuneup before NASCAR’s “Great American Race.”

Michael McDowell posted the final lap at 191.440 mph in the No. 34 Ford on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Former Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray had a top speed of 190.118 as he prepped for what is expected to be the final race of his NASCAR career.

Hendrick Motorsports sent out three of its four drivers, including the Daytona 500 front row of pole-sitter William Byron and Alex Bowman. Byron hit 191.339 and Bowman topped out at 191.278.

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