Kyle Busch, surprising Alex Bowman pace Daytona practices

Kyle Busch turned the fastest lap in the first of Wednesday's two practices.

Sean Gardner/Getty Images

After two days off, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returned to the high banks of Daytona International Speedway Wednesday, with a pair of practice rounds in advance of Thursday’s Budweiser Duel at Daytona 150s (7 p.m., FOX Sports 1).


The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas have been fast so far at Speedweeks and Wednesday was no exception, with Kyle Busch turning the fastest lap in the opening stanza, timing in at 200.776 miles per hour. That put him ahead of Jimmie Johnson, 200.530 mph in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, and Trevor Bayne’s Roush Fenway Racing Ford (200.053 mph). Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman completed the top five.


Danica Patrick crashed after contact from Denny Hamlin early in the session and will have to go to a backup car.


In the day’s second and final practice, topping the speed charts was a surprising Alex Bowman, who ran 200.495 mph in a Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet. "It really just says a lot about TBR and what they’ve done in the offseason with building a great speedway car to come here," said Bowman.


Behind Bowman, four other drivers passed the 200 mph threshold: Kahne’s Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet was second at 200.459 mph. Then came Bayne (200.387 mph), Paul Menard (200.374 mph) and Brian Scott (200.285 mph).