A few Chasers, and several non Chasers, were quick in the first practice session of the day for Sprint Cup Series drivers, with Paul Menard leading the way with a time of 31.024 sec at 174.059 mph. Right behind him was his soon-to-be-ex Richard Childress Racing teammate Clint Bowyer, who was only .101 sec slower than Menard. Jeff Gordon, David Reutimann, and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top 5.
Several drivers complained about the extreme winds at the racetrack on Friday, saying that it affected the handling of their racecars and the way their car felt in the corners.
“Definitely it’s tough,” said Tony Stewart. “It’s tough in three and four getting the cars to turn so you are definitely fighting the wind today but everybody is fighting it. It is the same for everybody.”
Teammate Ryan Newman agreed.
“It is the same for everyone as long as you have a good understanding of what the wind is and how it is affecting your car, then you do have to change the way you drive and the way you approach the race track compared to if there is no wind,” said Newman. “It is something that everyone has to deal with.”
Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. was sixth fastest in the running order, followed by Martin Truex Jr. in seventh. Kyle Busch, David Ragan, and Kasey Kahne rounded out the top 10.
Other notable Chasers include Carl Edwards (16th), Jimmie Johnson (18th), Brad Keselowski (22nd), Tony Stewart (23rd), Kurt Busch (27th), and Kevin Harvick (32nd).
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