Dale Earnhardt Jr. may be down after being eliminated from the Chase last week at Talladega, but he’s not out as he guns for a repeat win in the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500. Earnhardt, Jr. turned the fastest lap in the morning practice session at Martinsville Speedway with a speed of 96.998 mph. Martin Truex Jr. was the fastest of the remaining Chase drivers in second with a speed of 96.879. Ryan Newman, polesitter Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin also posted top-five times in the chilly session.
Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle rounded out the top 10. Five Chase drivers were outside the top 10 on the speed chart: Kevin Harvick (13th), Kurt Busch (15th), Jeff Gordon (16th), Brad Keselowski (18th) and Carl Edwards (20th).
Stewart will go to his backup car after a late crash during the session. Kurt Busch and Jeb Burton also had some damage to their cars during the practice.