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Earnhardt notches fastest lap in final Daytona 500 practice

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. had the fastest lap in final practice for the Daytona 500.

Earnhardt, whose car is nicknamed “Amelia,” has been strong all week. He reached 197.131 mph on his eighth and final lap Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Defending race winner Joey Logano was second, followed by Ryan Blaney, Brad Keseloswki and Kurt Busch.

Twenty-five cars took part in the final fine-tuning session. Fifteen did not to avoid potential damage with the season-opening race just hours away.

Matt Kenseth drove a backup car after crashing in one of the twin qualifying races and turned the most laps. He circled the 2 1/2-mile superspeedway 30 times, once more than Logano, Blaney and Keselowski.

Pole-sitter and rookie Chase Elliott had the fastest 10-lap average, considered a good indicator of race readiness. He averaged 195.106 mph over his first 10 practice laps, a tick quicker than Brian Vickers, Busch and Kevin Harvick.

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