|Jimmie Johnson's crew won the Pit Crew Challenge Thursday night (Getty)|
19 of the 20 cars used parts of the final 40 minutes for qualifying practice. When attempting a qualifying lap in the All-Star race, drivers have to make a pit stop during the lap. They must enter the pits at a speed limit, but they can rip out of their stalls as fast they can as part of their lap.
Needless to say, there is no need to really look at any average speeds. However, five and 10 consecutives lap run can be helpful but there still isn’t a large enough sample size. Keselowski led both of those categories during the session. Only five drivers ran at least 10 consecutive laps.
For some reason Jeff Gordon was the one driver who never made a qualifying lap attempt and will go on the fly in tonight’s qualifying. Gordon finished with the worst speed of all 20 drivers, apparently showing that they felt it was more important to get the car running well for Saturday than worrying about where they start.
It should come as no surprise that Greg Biffle had the second fastest lap (187.715) because of how well he ran at Charlotte’s sister tracks of Las Vegas (3rd) and Texas (Won). All-Star race favorite Jimmie Johnson finished runner-up in both of those races and had the 14th fastest lap (184.982).
I don't get as excited for the All-Star practices like I do for the other races because there really isn't much I can gain from it other than a few single lap times. However, I do look forward to tonight's qualifying (6 pm ET) just because it's an awesome spectacle, and most of all, different.
The Pit Crew Challenge also fits the bill as different and congratulations go out to the No. 48 team for the being the best last night, as if we needed a competition to know they were the best.
Top 5 All-Star practice 1 Speeds:
1. Kyle Busch 188.337 mph
2. Greg Biffle 187.715
3. Marcos Ambrose 187.207
4. Carl Edwards 186.948
5. Kevin Harvick 186.664
15. Regan Smith (Blown engine half way through practice)
Sprint All-Star Practice Speeds
Earnhardt Jr Fastest in Sprint Showdown Practice
Dale Earnhardt Jr may not need the fan vote if Friday’s lone Sprint Showdown practice is any indication of how he’ll run in the Saturdays night’s preliminary race. Junior can go a few different angles here: either save his car and know he’ll get in with the fan vote or try and show everyone he doesn’t need the vote and go for the win. Expect him to go all out and taste some type of victory lane.
AJ. Allemendinger had the second fastest speed (188.062) followed by Landon Cassill (187.931 mph), Bobby Labonte (187.852) and Martin Truex Jr (187.826).
Saturday’s Sprint Showdown looks to be a three-car race between Earnhardt Jr, Truex Jr and Allmendinger.
Top 5 Sprint Showdown Practice 1 Speeds:
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 188.114 mph
2. A.J. Allmendinger 188.062
3. Landon Cassill 187.931
4. Bobby Labonte 187.852
5. Martin Truex Jr. 186.826
Sprint Showdown Practice Speeds