|Brad Keselowski finished second at Loudon in 2011|
A few teams tinkered around with race set-ups early during the practice, but the majority felt qualifying and getting great starting position for Sunday's race was a major key to having success. No driver ran 10 consecutive laps and Kurt Busch total the most with 29.
Teammates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin had identical speeds of 134.439 mph, and were tied for second fastest. Jamie McMurray (134.387) was fourth fastest, followed by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (134.259) to round out the top-five.
Hamlin guaranteed a win at New Hampshire last fall, and came through with the called shot. He'll be looking for his third win on the 1-mile flat track.
The teams will return later this afternoon at 3:40 p.m. (ET) for qualifying to determine the starting lineup for Sunday’s event.
New Hampshire Practice 1 Speeds
Driver Quotes prior to Friday's practice
KURT BUSCH TALKING ABOUT RCR SUCCESS AND HOW IT TRANSLATES TO HIS TEAM: “The way that the relationship has worked with (Kevin) Harvick, the No. 29 and the No. 78 let’s just go that way is that you have a crew chief like Gil Martin with his experience level. Todd (Berrier) is very experienced as well for me, but the two of them Gill and Harvick have been together longer. So they are able to sometimes just end up in the right position because they are on that page together more often. So Todd and I will sit there and scratch our heads sometimes on ‘how did Harvick do that?’ But at the same time we are happy for them to do well because we are sharing information. Anytime they do well we understand exactly what they had. It’s been a matter of us, Todd and myself, filtering through their success to simulate that and to be able to copy that to the best of our abilities. We are routing for them they are routing for us. If we can get two of us in the Chase that is going to make it better I think.”
KEVIN HARVICK ON HOW EXCITED HE IS THAT BUDWEISER IS GOING TO FOLLOW HIM TO STEWART-HAAS RACING:
“Obviously, it’s nice to officially end all the speculation about numbers and teams and as far as the sponsorship, obviously we’ve had three years with Budweiser and looking forward to moving forward with them as a sponsor. It’s been an interesting process just from the fact that we really haven’t been involved in much of anything on the sponsorship side of it just for the fact that when we did the deal with SHR we were knowing that we were having to move forward for a year here and we wanted to make sure that we did a good job with RCR so it’s nice to be in a position to not have to go out and be a part of that whole process and be able to focus on racing a car and getting the performance and doing the things that we need to do at RCR. It’s worked out well and those guys at SHR took full responsibility to have the car funded and that made my life a lot easier.”
KEVIN HARVICK ON WHY HE CHOSE THE NUMBER 4 FOR NEXT YEAR:
“I think the 4 is just something that’s with the 14. The number was something that I don’t want to say didn’t really matter to me, but it’s something that you want to see consistent with the team and the things that they have going on. That was a number that was available and seemed like it was a pretty common tie to the 14.”
TONY STEWART ON NEW HAMPSHIRE: “I’m excited to be here this is a track that’s definitely been good to us for sure. We used the third of our four tests that we are allotted to come up here a couple of weeks ago and see if we could get our cars a little better for here. I’m looking forward to seeing how it pans out this weekend.”