Friday, October 25, 2013

Clint Bowyer Fastest in Friday's First Martinsville Practice Session

Earnhardt Jr. ran the most laps in practice 
Clint Bowyer was the only driver to top 100 mph during Friday’s first practice session at Martinsville Speedway. His lap at 100.074 mph topped Kyle Busch (99.726) and Denny Hamlin’s (99.532) to be the fastest during the 90-minute session. Among his 29 laps run, he was also able to reel off the fastest 10-consecutive lap average. If Bowyer runs the same lap during today's qualifying, he should be on the pole and break track (98.03 mph) record set by Tony Stewart in 2005.

Of the 43 drivers that practiced, 15 of them tried a run of at least 10 laps in a row, with Kevin Harvick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Elliott Sadler and Hamlin -- Sadler is in the No. 55 MWR Toyota. Pretty cool seeing Sadler back in the Cup series with a good car. Martinsville wasn’t ever Sadler’s best track, but this car figures to be set-up nice, maybe similar to his teammate this week, Bowyer.

Sadler joins Jeff Burton and Hamlin as competing Virginians racing in Sunday’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500. Burton has one win over his career on the half-mile track, but Hamlin has been dominant at times with four career wins.

Danica Patrick had some optimism coming in the weekend because she finished 12th in the spring race, and she brought that same car to race this week. But Patrick spun going into Turn 1 and hit the wall which will force her to use a back-up car. Moments later, her boyfriend -- Stenhouse, slid into the same wall. The team was trying to repair the right rear, no back-up yet. That scene sounds like a sure winner to be Mike Smith's next StockCartoon.

In the Chase battle, Matt Kenseth was ninth fastest in the session while point leader Jimmie Johnson was 11th best. Kenseth has three top-5 finishes -- no wins -- over his career at Martinsville. Johnson has accumulated eight grandfather clock trophies in lees starts.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran the most laps (56), but could olny get the 19th fastest lap (98.702).

Qualifying is set for 3:40 p.m. ET and will be televised on Fox Sports 1.

Martinsville Practice 1 Speeds

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