Posted 09/29/2012 at 10:49 AM
After some rain delays, the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers got 58-minutes of practice time at Dover International Speedway in preparation for Sunday’ AAA 400. The session was the first of two that will run on Friday before Saturday's qualifying.
Martin Truex Jr. laid down the fastest lap of the session at 157.082 mph on the 12th of his 13 laps run. His lone career win came at Dover in 2007, and it remains his only top-5 finish on the track. His teammate, Clint Bowyer, also came out firing in qualifying trim with the second fastest lap gained on the final of his 13 laps run.
Denny Hamlin hasn’t had a lot of success at Dover over his career with a 20.5 average finish, but he was sharp Friday with the third fastest speed.
Four-time Dover winner Mark Martin put all three MWR cars in the top-4 with the fourth fastest time using the same car that he won the pole with in June’s race.
Two-time Dover winner Greg Biffle rounded out the top-5 with a speed of 156.230 mph.
Five of the top-6 speeds were gained by Toyotas.
Joey Logano ran the most laps of the session with 37. Only two drivers attempted 10-consecutive laps or more.
Danica Patrick ran 32 laps, but had the slowest speed (148.723) among the 48 drivers that will attempt to qualify Saturday.
Race favorite, and seven-time Dover winner, Jimmie Johnson had the 25th fastest individual lap. Another surprise down the charts was Matt Kenseth with the 44th fastest lap. Kenseth is on a run at Dover that has seen him finish fifth or better in eight of his past nine starts.
The final practice session was led by Jeff Gordon, who hasn't won at Dover since 2001. Joey Logano was next, followed by Johnson.
Kyle Busch had the fastest 10-consecutive lap average and should give Johnson his stiffest competition. Busch is a two-time Dover winner.
I also liked the way Kevin harvick ran in longer runs. he only had the 35th fastest lap, but he'll be much better than that. he's using a chassis that had his best runs of the year with a runner-up finishes at Phoenix and Dover.