Friday, April 19, 2013

Kansas Practice Notes: Edwards Leads Pack of Fords in First Session

Bowyer pays tribute to victims of the attack on the Boston Marathon during practice  
By Micah Roberts

Carl Edwards, running at a fast lap of 192.055 mph, led thee Fords at the top of the charts during Friday's practice session at Kansas Speedway in preparation for Sunday's STP 400. Five of the top six speeds were Fords, a great sign for them considering Toyota's have dominated the first three down force track races.

Edwards fast lap would have been good enough to break the track qualifying record (191.360 mph) -- along with three others -- set last fall by Kasey Kahne. Friday's qualifying is set for 4:40 p.m. ET and will be televised by Speed. Edwards, who hails from nearby Columbia, MO, doesn't have a win at Kansas, but has averaged a 10.8 finish over his 11 career starts.

Following Edwards was teammate Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (191.857 mph), Sam Hornish, Jr. (191.557), Martin Truex, Jr. (191.476) and Aric Almirola (191.293). Truex Jr. finished runner-up in both Kansas races last season.

Rounding out the top-ten quickest in the practice session were two-time Kansas winner Greg Biffle (191.056 mph), last fall's winner Matt Kenseth (190.792), Juan Pablo Montoya (190.617), Marcos Ambrose (190.308) and Ryan Newman (190.215). Newman has finished 10th in two of the three down force tracks this season and won at the third Cup race ever held at Kansas in 2003.

Joey Logano (29th fastest single lap), Brad Keselowski (30th) and Mark Martin (12th) ran the most laps (31) during the session. No driver ran 10 consecutive laps.

Race favorite Jimmie Johnson (6/1) had the 16th fastest lap. Kyle Busch (7/1), who has won at two of the down force tracks already this season, was right behind Johnson with the 17th best single lap.

The next practice sessions, which will give a better indication of how the Fords really are in race trim, will be run Saturday morning. The two 50 minute sessions will begin at 10:00 a.m. ET.

STP 400 Practice 1 Speeds

Clint Bowyer talking today about his chances on home track:

“Love it. They’re good. They better be good. I wouldn’t be here if they weren’t decent. Just looking forward to getting things back on their way. On a serious note, I was off last weekend. We were off as a race team. (Martin) Truex was fast and Mark (Martin) and I struggled pretty bad all weekend long for three days. Kind of concerns you going into a track that’s been somewhat good to you, but more importantly it’s home and it’s important to you to run well. Had a great meeting on Monday, saw some things that were making sense as to reasons why we’re off and I think we’ve got a good game plan going into this race. Just so much fun to come back here. I’m very proud of this race track. I’m proud of this area. I say this every year — I saw what this area was before and what’s become of Wyandotte County (Kansas) because of this race track is just incredible. This is a destination now and it was back in the day a place you didn’t want to be — you got off on the wrong exit. It’s a neat facility. It’s a destination and an attraction here that has brought a lot of neat things — businesses, restaurants, shopping malls, other sporting complexes, a casino. I mean, it’s all within walking distance of the race track. It’s pretty cool.”

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