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Micah Roberts - Blogs

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NEW HAMPSHIRE PRACTICE NOTES: HAMLIN VERY FAST

By Micah Roberts
Posted 07/14/2012 at 01:10 PM

Denny Hamlin laid down the fastest lap Saturday morning during New Hampshire’s early practice session with a speed of 131.478 mph. Hamlin not only was fastest on individual lap times, but also fared the best over the 55-minute duration with the top average speeds, running 32 laps at an average of 130.322 mph. No other driver averaged over 130 mph during the practice. --- Hamlin was also fastest among the 15 drivers that ran 10-consecutive laps. ----- It shouldn’t come as a surprise to see Hamlin atop the charts in practice despite struggling with his race trim set-up early in practice on Friday. Not only does Hamlin have a New Hampshire win and a track best 9.0 average finish over his career, but he also won at Phoenix earlier this season, a track that requires a similar set-up. Richmond can be lumped into that category as well and Hamlin finished fourth in that race. ----- Jeff Gordon was second fastest with a lap of 131.370 mph among his 36 run in the morning session. Just like Hamlin, Gordon struggled Friday with his race set-up, but got things clicking early on Saturday. Gordon is running out of time is his quest to make the Chase and the only way he can make it is by winning races. ----- Gordon has had great cars all season, but the only luck he's had has been BAD. He looks to again have one of the better cars on the track and getting his fourth career New Hampshire win wouldn’t be a stretch at all. At some juncture, Lady Luck has to end her feud with Gordon. ----- Martin Truex Jr. had the third fastest lap (131.193) followed by Aric Almirola (131.094) and two-time New Hampshire winner Clint Bowyer (131.004) to round out the top-5 fastest speeds. ----- Even though Dover is closest to Truex Jr’s New Jersey home where he grew up, Truex Jr. says it’s New Hampshire’s 1-mile track that he considers home just because he raced more on the track growing up. He has a large 77-point lead over 13th-place in the standings, but a win would surely make him more comfortable. ----- Kasey Kahne was sixth fastest followed by Jimmie Johnson, pole-sitter Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers and four-time New Hampshire winner Jeff Burton. ---- Three-time New Hampshire Ryan Newman turned the most laps on the session (49) followed by Brad Keselowski (48) and Vickers (39). ---- The top average speeds of the session were Hamlin, Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Kahne and Truex Jr. ---- Top best 10-consecutive lap average speeds were run by Hamlin, Kahne, Busch, Gordon and Kenseth. ---- Saturday’s final practice session is scheduled for 11:20 am (ET).

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