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.

RankDriverLaps RanAvg Speed (MPH)
1Kasey Kahne89135.573
2Juan Pablo Montoya58135.146
3Paul Menard104135.121
4Kevin Harvick67135.028
5Carl Edwards65135.025
6Martin Truex Jr.75135.024
7Tony Stewart86135.019
8Jamie McMurray75134.946
9Greg Biffle91134.883
10Kyle Busch92134.719
11Kurt Busch63134.707
12Mark Martin71134.667
13Joey Logano51134.661
14Jimmie Johnson110134.617
15Matt Kenseth8134.544
16Aric Almirola84134.533
17Brad Keselowski65134.500
18Clint Bowyer61134.457
19Denny Hamlin98134.452
20Jeff Burton83134.355
21Jeff Gordon89134.304
22Casey Mears65134.290
23Ryan Newman25134.264
24AJ Allmendinger86134.151
25Marcos Ambrose90134.132
26Landon Cassill34134.087
27Regan Smith85134.023
28Bobby Labonte78134.008
29David Reutimann54133.570
30Dale Earnhardt Jr.58133.421
31Travis Kvapil56133.035
32Mike Bliss61132.935
33David Ragan69132.683
34David Gilliland51132.349
35Brendan Gaughan22131.727


Go-or-Go-Homer’s Average Speeds:

RankDriverLaps RanAvg Speed (MPH)
1Josh Wise19134.359
2Scott Riggs16134.311
3Dave Blaney36133.777
4Robby Gordon11133.089
5Joe Nemechek22132.932
6David Stremme37132.913
7J.J. Yeley30132.841
8Timmy Hill38130.381
9Michael McDowell00.000

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