Posted 04/12/2012 at 08:02 PM
The first practice session in preparation for Saturday night’s Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway was two hours long, but Mark Martin needed less than 29 seconds to lay down the fastest lap of the evening. Martin’s fast lap at 189.427 mph was captured on his first attempt and it wasn't until 25 minutes remained that anyone came close to his speed.
With about a half hour to go in the session, just about every team ran a mock qualifying lap, but it was still Martin who finished on top of the charts.
Greg Biffle finished second fastest (189.221), capturing his speed at the same time Martin did. Kevin Harvick was one of two drivers to crack the top-5 in speeds during the final 25 minutes with a speed of 189.208. A.J. Allmendinger was fourth fastest (188.930) with a lap ran at the same time as Martin and Biffle.
Regan Smith rounded out the top-5 with a speed of 188.877 in the final few minutes of the session. Allmendinger and Smith ran the most laps overall with 53.
The pre-race favorites, such as Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards all finished strong in the final 30 minutes to get a top-10 speed. Others, like Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon were 20th or worse.
This practice session will determine the qualifying order Friday night with Martin getting to go out last when the track would seem to be at its coolest. Friday night’s 90 minute final practice session, just prior to qualifying, will be the last chance for teams to get their cars set-up perfectly for race conditions.