Average Practice Speeds: Phoenix – Subway Fresh Fit 500


Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The drivers in the Sprint Cup Series got a whole bunch of track time today on the recently repaved surface of Phoenix International Raceway (three hours to be exact). The starting lineup is scheduled to be set on Saturday afternoon and that will be the last time the cars are on track before Sunday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500. For those that were wondering, Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief, Chad Knaus, will be on the pit box this weekend–and probably next weekend–because the team is appealing the penalty handed down by NASCAR earlier this week. Don’t forget to check back here after qualifying and read my Predictions for the race on Sunday.

Important Practice Notes: Bendan Gaughan hit the wall pretty hard in first practice. He went to a backup car. His practice speeds from the first session have been removed from average speeds calculation. Michael McDowell blew a tire and hit the wall in first practice and went to a backup car as well. McDowell’s speeds have also been removed from the average speed calculation. Martin Truex, Jr. hit the wall near the end of first practice–the damage wasn’t terrible–and then shortly thereafter Ryan Newman hit the wall real hard. Newman’s team brought out the backup car and his practice speeds from first practice were removed from the average speed calculation. Matt Kenseth hit the wall early in Happy Hour according to his spotter on Twitter they went to a backup car. Kenseth’s laps in first practice and his one lap ran during Happy Hour in the primary car were removed from the average speed calculation. Timmy Hill hit the wall later in Happy Hour, although it was never reported (that I saw) whether or not that team brought out a backup car. It is expected to be between 10 and 20 degrees hotter on Sunday than it was during the practice sessions on Friday.

In the first practice session, the five fastest drivers were:
1. Tony Stewart – 138.680 mph
2. Mark Martin – 138.611 mph
3. Greg Biffle – 138.568 mph
4. Ryan Newman – 138.493 mph
5. Kasey Kahne – 138.408 mph
Click here for the complete results from this practice.

In terms of ten-lap average, the top five for first practice were:
1. Paul Menard – 135.519 mph
2. Jimmie Johnson – 135.011 mph
3. Denny Hamlin – 134.070 mph
4. Brad Keselowski – 132.269 mph
5. Ryan Newman – 131.297 mph
Click here for the complete ten-lap average chart for practice one.

In “Happy Hour”, the fast five were:
1. Martin Truex, Jr. – 139.481 mph
2. Clint Bowyer – 139.227 mph
3. Juan Montoya – 139.002 mph
4. Kurt Busch – 138.841 mph
5. Jeff Gordon – 138.244 mph
Click here for the complete results from this practice.

When it came to ten-lap average, the best for Happy Hour were:
1. Kasey Kahne – 136.451 mph
2. Jimmie Johnson – 135.758 mph
3. Tony Stewart – 135.534 mph
4. Kyle Busch – 138.495 mph
5. Mark Martin – 135.428 mph
Click here for the complete ten-lap average chart for Happy Hour.

 Average Practice Speeds:

Average practice speeds are calculated by taking the average speed of each driver in each practice and multiplying it by the number of laps ran. When you do this for each practice and add the  totals together, and then divide by the total number of laps ran, you get an average of their practice speed, instead of just the one lap statistic you see when you look at practice sheets. I have found over the years that this is much more accurate as to whether or not someone has a car that is good for one lap or one that can consistently be fast. These numbers, however, can be skewed if a team puts new tires on frequently or rarely changes the tires.

Rank Driver Laps Ran Avg Speed (MPH)
1 Kasey Kahne 89 135.573
2 Juan Pablo Montoya 58 135.146
3 Paul Menard 104 135.121
4 Kevin Harvick 67 135.028
5 Carl Edwards 65 135.025
6 Martin Truex Jr. 75 135.024
7 Tony Stewart 86 135.019
8 Jamie McMurray 75 134.946
9 Greg Biffle 91 134.883
10 Kyle Busch 92 134.719
11 Kurt Busch 63 134.707
12 Mark Martin 71 134.667
13 Joey Logano 51 134.661
14 Jimmie Johnson 110 134.617
15 Matt Kenseth 8 134.544
16 Aric Almirola 84 134.533
17 Brad Keselowski 65 134.500
18 Clint Bowyer 61 134.457
19 Denny Hamlin 98 134.452
20 Jeff Burton 83 134.355
21 Jeff Gordon 89 134.304
22 Casey Mears 65 134.290
23 Ryan Newman 25 134.264
24 AJ Allmendinger 86 134.151
25 Marcos Ambrose 90 134.132
26 Landon Cassill 34 134.087
27 Regan Smith 85 134.023
28 Bobby Labonte 78 134.008
29 David Reutimann 54 133.570
30 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 58 133.421
31 Travis Kvapil 56 133.035
32 Mike Bliss 61 132.935
33 David Ragan 69 132.683
34 David Gilliland 51 132.349
35 Brendan Gaughan 22 131.727


Go-or-Go-Homer’s Average Speeds:

Rank Driver Laps Ran Avg Speed (MPH)
1 Josh Wise 19 134.359
2 Scott Riggs 16 134.311
3 Dave Blaney 36 133.777
4 Robby Gordon 11 133.089
5 Joe Nemechek 22 132.932
6 David Stremme 37 132.913
7 J.J. Yeley 30 132.841
8 Timmy Hill 38 130.381
9 Michael McDowell 0 0.000

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4 Responses to “Average Practice Speeds: Phoenix – Subway Fresh Fit 500”

  1. ravenmadd March 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    love this info my nascar guru!!!!!

  2. tombo March 4, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    great stuff man!!

  3. smoke March 4, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    first time i’ve seen this site. good info, but you should have picked me first! ,smoke

  4. Chill March 4, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    So glad to see this info back this year. SO HELPFUL!!!!

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