Thursday, May 24, 2012

2012 Coca-Cola 600 Practice Notes: Ambrose Fastest in First Session

By Micah Roberts

Marcos Ambrose ran fastest lap in practice; still 50/1 odds in Vegas (Getty)
Marcos Ambrose laid down the fastest lap Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s first practice session in preparation for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. Ambrose’s fast lap at 189.215 mph came on his first of five laps run while in qualifying trim.

Not too many drivers tried race set ups in the 90 minute session held prior to tonight’s qualifying session. Only one driver, Joey Logano, tried running more than 10 consecutive laps. Kyle Busch led the way with 28 laps run. The majority of drivers ran only five to nine laps, but will still have two full practices on Saturday morning.

Nothing major to report from this session that will do any good for race day. However, a few notables: The Gibbs drivers ran a lot of laps in practice. Danica Patrick got 25 laps in at an average less than Kyle Busch by 4 mph, who ran three more laps. Patrick still ended up with the 28th fastest lap, faster than Brad Keselowski.

I still like Jimmie Johnson to win the race. I like that he's bringing the runner-up chassis from Texas. The one problem is that Greg Biffle has brought the winning Texas chassis. The engine problems that both Biffle and Edwards had last week in the All-Star race should be a concern in a 600 mile race.

Because the race is so long, it's easy to understand why teams might not want to put additional wear and tear of running too many laps in practice.

Top-5 Coca-Cola 600 Practice 1 Speeds:
) Marcos Ambrose 189.215
2) Landon Cassill 189.182
3) AJ Allmendinger 188.409
4) Greg Biffle 188.344
5) Clint Bowyer 188.016

Practice 1 Speeds 

Starting Lineup: Almirola on Pole

Practice 2-3 Notes: Hamlin Fastest in Important Second Session  

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