Matt Kenseth Tops Morning Practice during Daytona TestingBy Ashley McCubbin
You can make changes, but some things remain the same. That can be said as while this is the first time at Daytona for the Generation 6 cars, defending Daytona 500 Champion Matt Kenseth topped the charts on Thursday morning with a speed of 192.757 mph. Kenseth also had the best 10 lap average.
The 2013 season marks the debut of the Generation 6 car, which is part of NASCAR’s continuing work to improve the cars. The new car is meant to be safer than the Car of Tomorrow. The other main difference is NASCAR getting back to their roots as the cars look like the cars right off the street.
Another change at the test is this marks Matt Kenseth’s second time testing a car with Joe Gibbs Racing after the 2003 Sprint Cup Champion left Roush Fenway Racing. His first test was last month when the Generation 6 car was tested for the first time at Charlotte Motor Speedway. While Kenseth moves over to Roush Fenway, that bumps Joey Logano over to Penske Racing while Ricky Stenhouse Jr. takes over Kenseth’s ride. Logano was 23rd while Stenhouse was 30th.
Richard Petty Motorsports driver Marcos Ambrose was second on the speed charts, 0.005 seconds behind Kenseth.
Danica Patrick was third on the chart with a speed of 192.583 mph as she enters her first full Sprint Cup Series season with Stewart-Haas Racing after running the full Nationwide Series schedule last year with JR Motorsports. Patrick will have experience on her pit box in the form of Tony Gibson, who was the crew chief for Ryan Newman last year. Newman is partnered back up with Matt Borland, which Borland and Newman worked together when Newman was at Penske Racing. Newman was 14th on the speed chart.
Richard Childress Racing teammates Jeff Burton and Paul Menard rounded out the top five. Kenseth’s new teammate Kyle Busch was sixth, followed by Clint Bowyer, Jeff Gordon, Juan Pablo Montoya and Austin Dillon. Dillon will run the full Nationwide Series schedule once again in 2013, though will also make some starts in the Sprint Cup Series.
Defending series champion Brad Keselowski was 31st on the speed chart.
Testing continues Thursday afternoon and on Friday as teams will begin drafting instead of just single-car runs.