Friday, February 25, 2011

Kurt Busch Fastest in First Phoenix Practice Session

Busch leads the first Phoenix practice session
By Micah Roberts

Kurt Busch led the way through the first -- and most important -- practice and was third best in average speeds while running 22 laps. After being the darling throughout speed weeks, Busch has come right out of the gate flexing his muscles in a completely different type of racing climate. I must say I had some reservations about the how the No. 22 team would perform this year with the switch, but it's clear that they are on the right path to equaling or bettering their 2010 run in the No. 2 car. It's only practice, but it's pretty revealing. (Note: Later revealed that Busch came out in Q-trim explaining the speeds)

Kevin Harvick was best in average speeds followed by Denny Hamlin. Jeff Burton ran the second fastest lap with teammate Clint Bowyer finishing 16th. Kasey Kahne was also very pleased with his car and it showed as he ran the 7th quickest lap. The Final practice will have some race trim practice early, but the last half will be almost exclusively in qualifying trim.

Top 5 Speeds From Practice No. 1 of two scheduled on Friday at Phoenix:
#22-Busch 136.539
#31-Burton 133.869
#11-Hamlin 133.754
#29-Harvick 133.412
#18-Busch 133.398
slowest: #92-Keselowski 125.209, #21-Bayne 98.047
no speed: #60-Cassill, #66-McDowell
notes: #21-Bayne had brake problems on his first lap and hit the wall coming off turn 3. He will have to go to a backup. #34-Kvapil also scraped the wall early but there was no major damage. #60-Cassill blew an engine on his first lap.

Second and Final Phoenix Practice - Happy Hour
All the top times of this session were run with qualifying trim. The top times prior to the set-up switch had Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr as the fastest.

Top 5 Happy Hour Speeds:
#18-Busch 136.085
#6-Ragan 136.034
#99-Edwards 136.034
#1-McMurray 135.993
#16-Biffle 135.716
slowest: #71-Lally 130.317, #92-Keselowski 128.255
notes: #36-Blaney spun coming off turn two and slid into the inside retaining wall. He will have to go to a backup.

Practice Quotes from Kurt Busch, Edwards, Stewart & Johnson Practice Page

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