The Frontstretch: Live from the Track: Burton Wins at Lowe's, Signing Off by Bryan Davis Keith -- Thursday October 9, 2008

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Live from the Track: Burton Wins at Lowe's, Signing Off

Bryan Davis Keith · Thursday October 9, 2008

 

Post-Race Reports

Jeff Burton has left the media center and the final press conference of the night has come to a close.

To all Frontstretch readers out there, we hope that this blog we have maintained was something worth reading. Our apologies for not having in-race updates like we did with the Nationwide race, the temptation to watch from pit road proved too much to overcome.

Please shoot us any feedback and let us know what you thought. Thanks for reading as always, we’re signing off from the track.

“We’re not curing cancer. We’re not solving world hunger. We’re racing.”

Burton was asked if winning felt different in 2008 after having such a drop in the number of wins since experiencing success early in his Cup career. Burton recalled that Mark Martin used to preach to him that a driver never knows when they’ll win again, and that he laughed at the notion. Burton has since learned from this, and he cited a conversation he had before the race tonight with Ryan Newman where he was able to give the same advice to a young driver that Martin gave to him.

When asked about whether or not Burton’s failure to score the win in Friday night’s Nationwide race entered into Scott Miller’s decision to call for no tires on Burton’s final pit stop, Miller replied that the influence of last night’s race was neglible, instead pointing to the use of the strategy in the last few Cup races at LMS and more specifically how the No. 9 team used that strategy to win the Coca-Cola 600 in May.

Says Burton on his age…“No one has proven to me you can’t do at 41 what you can at 23.”

Winning crew chief Scott Miller reports that the call to take no tires on the final cycle of pit stops was based on the current set of tires on the car, which made the No. 31 the “happiest” it had been all night. The team is reportedly looser this Chase than they have been in years.

Jeff Burton has just entered the media center, but the conference is being delayed as “he is old and can’t hold it like he used to.”

Kurt Busch complimented the second race of Dodge’s new R6 engine package. He and Kahne were grateful for closing the deal on solid finishes.

When questioned regarding the emergence of Jeff Burton as a title contender, Jimmie Johnson said that Burton “has always been on his radar” as a contender.

Kurt Busch, discussing his new engine, described how the new Dodge motors have allowed for cooler water temperatures and warmer oil temps, something that to him indicates durability and the ability to run more tape on the cars. The motor is still lacking, according to Busch, in lower end tourque in the 8000-8500 rpm range.

ESPN Releases Edwards/Harvick Scuffle Images

ESPN.com has released photos of the fight Thursday between Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards.

630 Update

The garage has gone hot and the cars are now being rolled onto the starting grid.

Pre-Race Concert Underway

Jessica Simpson is currently giving a free pre-race concert on the infield grass. Our own Mike Neff is attending and photographing the event.

Driver’s Meeting Update

All cars will roll onto the grid at 630. Engines will start at 733. Jeff Burton asked for clarification regarding the leader on restarts. NASCAR stated, very clearly, that the leader once they hit the double red lines has until the start finish line to start the race, as long as they maintain their speeds. NASCAR stated that the flagman will not drop the green until the leader makes his break, and that there will not be a definitive restart point put in place by NASCAR.

The legality of the restarts questioned last night was upheld by NASCAR. Elliott Sadler and Kyle Busch followed up Burton’s queries, to which Mike Helton responded:

“Restarting races isn’t rocket science.”

5 PM Update

The Sprint Cup cars are being rolled onto pit road. The last two cars being worked on in the garage area were the No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson and the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin.

Technical inspection is progressing smoothly, with no problems being reported as of now. The drivers’ meeting will be taking place in the next 15 minutes in the now empty Nationwide Series garage. Stay tuned to Frontstretch as we will bring you a full rundown of the Cup drivers’ meeting upon its completion.

Mike Neff on Restarts: The Fix is Simple

During the Nationwide race Friday night, there was some dispute over the restarts at the end of the race. Kyle Busch claimed he was maintaining a constant speed and that Jeff Burton was trying to lag back and get a run on him. Brian Vickers and Burton claimed that Busch was jumping on the brakes and causing the bunch ups that ended several drivers’ nights early.

Burton was adamant that this was not a Busch issue. It has been going on for years. All of the drivers involved noted that the rules state that the leader needs to maintain a constant speed coming to the line. In the modern, technologically advance world that is NASCAR racing these days, the fix would seem simple. Every car on the grid has a GPS device in them. NASCAR already enforces pit road speeding by utilizing the loops in the pit lane. They can enforce the speed coming to the green by monitoring the GPS of the leader’s car. Let them write the rule however they want, but be it five or ten percent, if the driver drops or accelerates more than that amount within 300 yards of the restart line, they get black flagged. That would stop all of the uneven restarts and torn up race cars immediately.

Monkeying around with the field as a leader comes to the line has been around since the first two cars got together to see who was the fastest, but the fix is quite simple. Its just up to NASCAR to implement the necessary procedures.

FROM SATURDAY

DOLLAR GENERAL 300 POST-RACE

Jeff Burton: “There were some brakechecks out there.” Burton points the finger at NASCAR for the problem with Kyle Busch’ s restarts tonight. Both Jeff Burton and Brian Vickers are not pleased with how Kyle Busch was handling restarts.

Brian Vickers in his comments claims that the first thing he will do in the Cup driver meeting tomorrow is to clarify the rules of how to restart and maintain a steady pace. Vickers places the fault on NASCAR, saying that NASCAR needs to penalize, not warn.

When asked regarding brakechecks, Brian Vickers said that he locked his tires up avoiding restart wrecks on numerous occasions. Jeff Burton indicated that Kyle Busch is not the only driver doing such things on restarts.

On Toyota’s HP

Brian Vickers, driving the Braun Toyota, reports that he was passed by Jeff Burton when running wide open. Vickers describes the dominance of the No. 18 and No. 20 as a JGR thing, not a Toyota thing.

DOLLAR GENERAL 300 UPDATES

Kyle Busch led 137 of 200 laps to win the Dollar General 300.

Lap 192: Coming to the restart, Kyle Busch again stacks up the field and causes a big wreck behind him, with Mike Bliss and John Wes Townley both enduring heavy damage in the infield grass. Bliss has driven to the garage. The No. 29 crew is demanding NASCAR officials black flag the No. 18 for brakechecking on the restart.
Lap 191: Coming to the green, caution has been out after Dave Blaney got loose in Turn 2 and collected his teammate, the No. 38 of Jason Leffler. Jeff Burton is second behind Kyle Busch.
Lap 174: Still green, but Kasey Kahne has made contact with the wall. Jeff Burton’s four-tire strategy is allowing him to run the high groove and he is making up ground on the leaders.
Lap 172: Kyle Busch takes the green as the leader, on two new tires.
Lap 167: Caution for debris, reportedly off the No. 22 of Andrew Ranger. Lucky Dog will go to Scott Lagasse Jr.
Lap 153: Kyle Busch has a two second lead over Jeff Burton. Brad Keselowski has moved into third, with Mike Bliss in fourth but fading.
Lap 130: Jeff Green reports that he “was run over” by the No. 66 of Steve Wallace.
Lap 126: Steve Wallace has confirmed that he got into the No. 31 of Jeff Green, but it is important to note that earlier in the race Mike Bliss, while following Jeff Green, managed in the exact same situation to feather the throttle and stay off the back of the No. 31 (until the No. 31 lost a tire). NASCAR is leading the field down the pit road to avoid the mess on the frontstretch.
Lap 125: Massive wreck on the frontstretch. Justin Allgaier and Steve Wallace were both involved. Jeff Green was hit hard by Wallace and had his rear end go airborne. Allgaier has climbed from his car, he is OK. Green was loose coming off of Turn 4 but he was hit by the No. 66 of Wallace.
Lap 121: Pit strategy has shuffled the field coming back to green. Brian Vickers has taken the lead of the race briefly, only to yield back to Kyle Busch.
Lap 117: Jimmie Johnson has spun on the backstretch and hit the inside wall. Johnson has said that he just lost the car on his own. Kyle Busch had driven out to a nearly one second lead over Mike Bliss, who is complaining that his car has tightened too much on this set of tires.
Lap 105: Mike Bliss is closing in on leader Kyle Busch, but the caution is out as Joey Logano has made contact with the Turn 4 wall. There is damage to both the front and rear ends of the No. 20 Toyota. The right side fender is noticeably caved in.
Lap 99: Coming back to the green, Mike Wallace was spun across the infield grass on the restart. David Reutimann also knocked Jamie McMurray off track. Caution is out again. Radio communications are reporting that several teams are accusing the No. 18 of Kyle Busch for jamming up the field on the restart. David Reutimann is on pit road getting repairs made to the front end. The crew chief of the No. 17 is demanding that Kyle Busch be black flagged.
Lap 96: David Stremme makes hard contact with the wall coming out of Turn 2. Stremme reports that his car is done for the night. The No. 64 team is blaming the No. 7 for the accident. Video confirms that the No. 7 got loose in Turn 2 and that Wallace’s move to correct it collected Stremme’s car.
Lap 88: After a wide variety of pit strategies played out, Mike Bliss is the new leader, taking no tires. Brian Vickers has moved into the third position from 42nd starting spot in a backup Toyota. Kyle Busch clears Mike Bliss for the lead after only one lap of green flag racing.
Lap 85: Cars are moving on track under yellow and preparing for pit stops after a 59 minute red flag for rain.
Lap 81: Hard wreck on the backstretch involving Chase Miller, Bobby Hamilton Jr. and Jason Keller. Jamie McMurray will get the Lucky Dog. Rain is starting to pick up on the track under yellow.
Lap 61: Jamie McMurray is on pit road for tires in an unscheduled green flag pit stop. The team has checked the tires and there were no problems with them. McMurray is reporting now that the car has something broken in its suspension or chassis.
Lap 55: Kyle Busch has taken the lead from teammate Logano, with Jeff Burton breathing down Logano’s neck.
Lap 50: Caution is out for debris. Jason Leffler had been reporting a vibration and has made contact with the wall. His right front tire is down. There are 24 cars on the lead lap. Scott Lagasse Jr. is the first car one lap down. The No. 28 of Kenny Wallace received a pit road penalty for losing a tire on pit road.
Lap 48: Jeff Burton uses a run off the high side coming out of Turn 4 to take the lead from Joey Logano.
Lap 44: Burney Lamar and the No. 05 team are parking for the night, after being involved in a three wide pack of cars.
Lap 42: JTG Daugherty Racing is enjoying a solid showing early on, with both Kelly Bires and Marcos Ambrose in the Top 10.
Lap 36: Joey Logano continues to lead. No. 35 Danny O’Quinn has retired from the race and No. 73 Kevin Lepage has just gone behind the wall. He has since pulled out.
Lap 26: Joey Logano has nearly four tenths of a second on second place Jeff Burton. No. 88 Brad Keselowski is in 22nd, up from his 30th starting spot but struggling with Justin Allgaier. DJ Kennington has been lapped and is struggling with his backup No. 81.
Lap 17: Joey Logano goes three wide out of four, takes the lead from Jeff Burton and Jamie McMurray (reporting that he is getting tight).
Lap 11: Still running laps under yellow, Goodyear announced that Jeff Green’s No. 31 fell victim to a cut tire, not a blowout. 4 cars currently are behind the wall: No. 40 Bryan Clauson, No. 4 Derrike Cope, No. 90 Johnny Chapman, No. 91 Terry Cook
Lap 8: NASCAR is bringing the field down pit road due to a light rain falling on the track.
Lap 7: No. 31 Jeff Green struggles through Turn 4 with a deflating right rear tire, is tapped by No. 1 of Mike Bliss and spins across the infield grass. No contact is made, the No. 31 is trying to stay out and avoid a pit penalty in repairing the car.
Lap 6: No. 17 Jamie McMurray and No. 18 Kyle Busch both report rain on the backstretch.
Lap 2: No. 40 Bryan Clauson into the Turn 2 wall, currently behind the wall for repairs. The car was reportedly too loose to drive even before the drop of the green flag.

Said Marcus Smith in his address to the crowd for the Dollar General 300:

“We dont’ have the yellow line here at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The drivers can pass in the grass whenever they want.”

730 PM Cup Update

Though Jimmie Johnson led Happy Hour practice for the Sprint Cup field, it was Roush Fenway Racing that stole the show in practice. Carl Edwards led a fleet of 4 RFR Fords into the Top 10 on the charts. Only Matt Kenseth, who timed in 17th, didn’t crack the Top 10.

Leading the Dodge camp was not Penske or Evernham, surprisingly. Juan Pablo Montoya was the fastest Dodge in fourth, while Robby Gordon put down the 12th fastest time. Gordon’s car was noticeably yawed out during the final practice session.

Sam Hornish Jr. was unhurt following a practice crash. His team is preparing a backup No. 77 Dodge.

7 PM Cup Update

Sam Hornish Jr. just made hard contact with the Turn 2 wall in his Dodge. Hornish will be forced to a backup. Clint Bowyer hit the wall earlier, though the damage was light enough that the No. 07 team chose to repair the car.

Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 team are continuing a great deal of adjustment work on a race car that they are extremely unhappy with for a wide variety of reasons.

Jimmie Johnson is current atop the practice chart, followed by Carl Edwards.

GO OR GO HOME

Jamie McMurray has taken the provisional pole, the first drive to crack 184 mph. He bettered Jeff Burton’s lap by two and a half tenths.

Josh Wise wrecked on his first qualifying lap, losing it in Turn 3 and backing into the Turn 4 wall. With no time of record, Wise will miss the race. Wise has been treated and released from the infield care center.

John Wes Townley posted the 19th quickest time his first lap, but backed into the wall in Turn 2 on Lap 2 after clipping the apron. There is extensive damage to the rear end of his Ford. The team is preparing a backup should the first lap time get them into the field.

In the Field: No. 17 Jamie McMurray, No. 10 Dave Blaney, No. 90 Johnny Chapman, No. 12 Justin Allgaier, No. 18 Kyle Busch, No. 91 Terry Cook, No. 19 Chase Miller, No. 31 Jeff Green, No. 30 Stanton Barrett, No. 35 Danny O’Quinn, No. 05 Burney Lamar, No. 73 Kevin Lepage, No. 09 John Wes Townley

To the House: No. 70 Mark Green, No. 49 Kertus Davis, No. 93 Kenny Hendrick, No. 02 Andy Ponstein, No. 89 Morgan Shepherd, No. 78 Johnny Sauter, No. 0 Larry Gunselman, No. 00 Josh Wise

NNS QUALS: TOP 30 News and Notes

Jeff Burton posted a 29.53, one tenth better than the field and is the new provisional polesitter.

Running with help from Front Row Motorsports this weekend, Tony Raines picks up on his second lap, posting the 24th quickest time.

Qualifying has resumed. Andrew Ranger ran a 31.024 in the No. 22 Dodge, reporting that he was extremely tight in Turns 3 and 4. Bobby Hamilton Jr. is one and done, 15th of 28 cars.

On his first lap, Brian Vickers spun the No. 32 Toyota in Turn 1 and flattened the rear end of his car. Vickers and team are going to a backup car.

Brad Keselowski was 15th on his first lap, and aborted the second lap after clipping the apron in Turn 4 and nearly spun out. Kenny Wallace has been in radio conference with his teammate Kertus Davis, reporting that the track has grip but that it is not capable of being run wide open in this session. Scott Lagasse Jr. ran two nearly identical laps, 9th of 25.

The cloud cover over Lowe’s Motor Speedway is beginning to thicken, and the cooling track proved to be beneficial to Marcos Ambrose, who picked up on his second lap to place fifth of 22 drivers. Kenny Wallace also posted a surprisingly fast run in his Jay Robinson No. 28, qualifying 13th of 23. Wallace told his guys to be proud of being able to beat so many good cars.

Carl Edwards is the new provisional polesitter, the first driver to break 182 mph. Derrike Cope is currently 17th of 20. Jason Leffler is ninth.

Bryan Clauson ran a 30.249 on his first lap. Clauson cut his car off before the line on his second lap after entering Turn 4 too high.

David Ragan is one and done, fifth of the 16 drivers to time in. Ragan was going for a second lap but nearly lost the car in Turn 2. Kevin Harvick reports that he left a little on the table in Turn 4, but still managed to qualify third.

Danny Efland is the first driver to report suffering through a tight qualifying run. Efland reports that there is a problem in the front end and that the car needs to be toed out more. Currently the No. 01 machine wants to dart itself right towards the wall. As a result, the JD team is relaying to it’s other driver, Larry Gunselman, not to make a hot lap in his No. 0 Chevrolet.

David Reutimann is one and done, 5th fastest after running a 30.053. Reutimann was very lose and nearly lost in coming out of Turn 4.

Kelly Bires backed up some strong runs in practice with a solid effort, posting a 29.924 second run on his first lap that currently has him third on the charts, fastest of the Nationwide regulars. Eric McClure followed him on the track, posting the slowest time of the 13 teams who have made runs.

Jimmie Johnson becomes driver number two to break 30 seconds, but fails to steal the provisional pole from Clint Bowyer. Joey Logano also breaks 30 seconds, and with his run is now the provisional polesitter.

Clint Bowyer is now the provisional polesitter, the first driver to break the 30 second barrier in this session. Bowyer, like Bliss, took a second lap hoping for more grip but found none. Brandon Whitt also made his run in the No. 61, currently 8th of 9 drivers.

Mike Bliss was second quick on his first lap, took a second lap and nearly wrecked his No. 1 Chevrolet. Bliss was surprised that he picked up no grip on the second lap, but saved his machine from any contact with the wall.

Steve Wallace is now currently the quickest driver. Wallace reportedly played it safe in a slick Turn 3. His teammate David Stremme just timed in third of the six to go so far. Stremme reported being too lose all over the racetrack, and that the tires used for the qualifying run were looser than those in practice. Stremme also is complaining of door padding coming off in his cockpit.

Kasey Kahne has just timed in and is currently second of the three drivers to qualify. Kahne reported his car was extremely lose on entry. Jason Keller was next to qualify and also reported slick conditions on entry for his No. 27 Ford.

DJ Kennington, the second car on track for qualifying, spun in Turn 4 and flattened the rear end of his No. 81 Dodge. He made it back under his own power. Mike Wallace qualified without incident.

PREVIOUS POSTS

JR Motorsports Sponsor Announcement
JR Motorsports has just announced that Unilever Brands, the current sponsor of Gillett Evernham Motorsports No. 9 Nationwide car, will sponsor their No. 5 Nationwide entry in 2009. Driving the No. 5 will be Landon Cassill, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin. The deal is good for 10 races.

Early Withdrawals
Justin Marks and the No. 03 team have withdrawn from qualifying following a wreck late in Happy Hour practice. The team was sixth quickest in the session and were well on their way to qualifying for the event. Robert Richards and the No. 23 team have also withdrawn after damaging their backup car early in Happy Hour. 51 teams are scheduled to take time in qualifying this afternoon at 3.

12:40 Update
Work continues in the Nationwide garage as of 12:40 PM. Morgan Shepherd has been seen on more than one occasion in the Kevin Harvick Incorporated No. 33 hauler and garage stall. It appears that the limited partnership between the two teams that was first seen at Richmond has carried over.

Noon Update
It’s nearly noon and the Nationwide cars have completed Happy Hour practice. Carl Edwards ended up quickest in the first session, followed by David Stremme, David Reutimann, David Ragan and Joey Logano.

Happy Hour Wreck
Disaster struck late for Germain Racing, as with only 5 minutes remaining in practice Justin Marks (who was second quick at the time) reportedly cut a tire and slammed driver’s side into the wall. The car suffered considerable driver’s side damage to the rear quarterpanel and the right front wheel well, as well as obvious suspension damage.

After the practice, as it stands, the following go or go homers will race tonight.

#03 Justin Marks, Construct Corps Toyota (heavily damaged however) #17 Jamie McMurray, Citi Financial Ford #10 Dave Blaney, Dollar General Toyota #18 Kyle Busch, NOS Energy Drink Toyota #30 Stanton Barrett, Donatos Pizza Chevrolet #00 Josh Wise, NAPA Auto Parts Toyota #91 Terry Cook, MSRP Motorsports Chevrolet #12 Justin Allgaier, Penske Truck Rental Dodge #70 Mark Green, Foretravel Motorcoach Chevrolet #19 Chase Miller, Verizon Wireless Dodge #31 Jeff Green, Key Motorsports Chevrolet #73 Kevin Lepage, Derrike Cope Racing Dodge #35 Danny O’Quinn, Team Rensi Ford

NNS Mid-Happy Hour Updates
After 48 minutes of practice, there are new leaders atop the board. The current fast lap is held by Joey Logano, with Justin Marks a surprising second in the No. 03 Toyota for Germain Racing. What has been a stellar couple of practices for Burney Lamar in the No. 05 has turned sour though, as they have slid down the speed charts and would currently miss tonight’s race.

We’re 25 minutes into Nationwide Series practice. Roush Fenway Racing is dominating, with Jamie McMurray, Carl Edwards and David Ragan at 1-2-3 on the pylon. It hasn’t been all rosy for the RFR guys, as David Ragan very nearly backed into Stanton Barrett’s machine while exiting his garage stall.

NNS Morning Observations
Some notes as I walked through the Nationwide garage. – Mike Bliss and the No. 1 is sporting a special paint scheme in honor of owner James Finch making his 500th start this weekend. – Despite having legal troubles abound (this week the Iredell County Sheriff confiscated their primary hauler), Fitz Motorsports is sporting a new sponsor in addition to Supercuts, with Tide on the hood and Wal-Mart on the quarterpanels. The team arrived in a blank purple No. 22 hauler. – Front Row Motorsports, in addition to their work with Eric McClure’s No. 24 team, are also providing personnel and support to Means Racing and the No. 52 this weekend. – Danny O’Quinn and his No. 35 team are on the bubble with regard to speeds for the go-or-go-homers, but the team is reportedly gaining on their unsponsored Ford.

As of Friday morning, 9:30 AM, there are clouds over Lowe’s Motor Speedway but the area and the track are both dry. The Nationwide garage is open and engines are being run, as teams prepare for their second practice at 10 AM.

MY TAKE: HARVICK V. EDWARDS
The hottest story swirling through the garage is of course regarding the incident that occurred between Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick in the Nationwide garage. I was not in the garage at the time, and found it about the incident when Clint Bowyer was questioned about it during his Chase driver conference and dismissively referred to it as something “about a golf game.”

There is no question that there was a confrontation between the two, as Carl Edwards’ refusal to discuss the matter and reference to it as a matter between him and Harvick made it very clear that there was something to it.

My take? I don’t doubt for a second Edwards provoked Harvick. I happened to be entering the media center for the day’s final conferences at the same time as Edwards, and judging from how he all but bowled through the front doors something had definitely struck a nerve. Several fans I talked to who had seen Carl earlier in the day at Roush’s shop said that he was in great spirits, polite and upbeat, which was a far cry from how tense and ticked he seemed to be come the final presser yesterday.

And for the record, good for Harvick for stepping up and shoving back. Assuming the incident panned out like reported, Harvick tried to take the high road, and Edwards wouldn’t let him. And frankly if you’re forced from taking the high road, make sure you hit harder than your opponent.

THURSDAY

All on-track activity at Lowe’s Motor Speedway has been cancelled for Thursday, and with that has come the cancellation of Sprint Cup qualifying. The field will be set based on owner points, meaning that the following 4 cars will not make Saturday’s field.

#25 Brad Keselowski #40 Bryan Clauson #75 Derrike Cope #82 Scott Speed

The hot rumor spinning in the garage area is with regard to an incident that occurred in the Nationwide Series garage between Cup regulars Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards. Edwards was questioned about the incident during the final press conference in the media center but refused to comment.

On-track activity will resume tomorrow morning at 10 AM tomorrow with final practice for the Nationwide cars. Cup cars will first practice at 5 PM Friday afternoon.

As of 4:30 pm, the precipitation has picked up at LMS. No word has come from NASCAR as to whether or not on-track activities will be cancelled for Thursday, but the track is soaking wet right now and will take considerable time to dry should a break in the rain come.

As of 3:55 pm at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, a light drizzle continues to fall on the racing surface. No Sprint Cup cars have yet been able to take to the track for practice.

40 of the 53 teams entered for Friday night’s Dollar General 300 took to the track for the first of two Nationwide Series practice sessions to be run on Thursday. David Ragan paced the field in his No. 6 Discount Tire Ford with a best lap of 179.438 mph. He was followed in the Top 5 by Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards, David Stremme and Joey Logano.

Looking at the teams that will have to race their way into the field, the fastest of the bunch was Penske Racing’s newest development driver, Justin Allgaier. Allgaier timed in eighth. Based on the speeds from the first practice, these 13 go or go home teams would be in Friday’s race.

Justin Allgaier, No. 12 Penske Truck Rental Dodge
Matt Kenseth, No. 17 Citi Financial Ford
Dave Blaney, No.10 ABF Freight Toyota
Josh Wise, No. 00 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
Justin Marks, No. 03 Constructbuddy.com Toyota
Burney Lamar, No. 05 31-W Insulation Ford
Chase Miller, No. 19 Verizon Wireless Dodge
Robert Richardson, No. 23 North Texas Pipe Chevrolet
Kyle Busch, No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota
Mark Green, No. 70 Foretravel Motorcoach Chevrolet
Justin Hobgood, No. 91 MSRP Motorsports Chevrolet
John Wes Townley, No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford
Danny O’Quinn, No. 35 Team Rensi Ford
Kenny Hendrick, No. 93 Interush Chevrolet
Jeff Green, No. 31 Key Motorsports Chevrolet

There were no incidents in the first practice session. There is currently rain on the speedway, which is delaying the start of Sprint Cup practice.

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Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
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