Friday, April 12, 2013

Truex Jr. Fastest in First Texas NRA 500 Practice Session

Truex captured the fastest lap in the final stages of practice
Martin Truex, Jr., with a lap at 192.143 mph, posted the quickest speed in Friday's first practice session at Texas Motor Speedway in preparation for Saturday night's NRA 500. Truex Jr. captured the top speed late in the 90-minute session on his 36th, and final lap, while in qualifying trim.

Prior to Truex Jr.'s run, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had the fastest lap at 192.123 mph, which he gained on his very first run around the 1.5-mile high banked track. For Junior, it's a great sign that he might able to do some good things on Saturday night, maybe even possibly win his first race at Texas since 2000, the site of his first win of his career.

If previous races run on the two down-force tracks this season are any indication of how Junior might run, he should be in good shape. He was runner-up at Fontana and seventh at Las Vegas, the best average among his Hendrick teammates, including Jimmie Johnson.

Johnson was third fastest in the session (191.510 mph) followed by Jamie McMurray (191.347) and Kevin Harvick (190.853). In Thursday's testing at Texas, Jimmie Johnson had the fastest 10-consecutive lap average in both sessions, but didn't run 10-consecutive laps in Friday's early practice.

Paul Menard had the best 10-consecutive lap average among the 13 that ran that many in a row. Menard is definitely a driver to take notice this week if looking at Las Vegas -- where he finished 10th, and Fontana -- where he was eighth. Texas figures to run most similar to Las Vegas.

Ryan Newman ran the most laps (59), but couldn't do better than 29th fastest on any single lap run. Kyle Busch ran 55 laps and had the 20th fastest lap.

The surprisingly slow driver on the day was Kasey Kahne, who is using the same chassis this week that he led the most laps with at Las Vegas, finishing second. Kahne was mired in 29th position for most of the session and became 18th quickest in the later stages.

The teams final practice session will be from 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (ET) this afternoon, and qualifying will be at 6:40 p.m. (ET) this evening.

It's hard to put a true gauge on how relative these sessions are to race day, or night, because the Saturday's race will be at night under the lights, where everything the teams are working on now may not produce the same results.

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