Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle lead testing in Las VegasBy Ashley McCubbin
As teams continue to get to know the new Generation 6 car, they were allowed to have an extra day of practice at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with a morning session and an afternoon session.
In the morning, it’d be Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth leading the charts with a lap of 28.816 seconds. Kenseth has been fast so far this season, though sits 18th in points after having a blown motor in the Daytona 500. Kenseth’s ex-Roush Fenway teammate Carl Edwards was second fastest on the chart after winning the race last week. Sprint Showdown winner Kevin Harvick was third, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Clint Bowyer was sixth, and mentioned during his media availability that he was having a good day.
“Everything is very, very good,” Bowyer, who currently sits fourth in points, said. “Our 5-hour ENERGY Toyota — it’s been fun. It’s always nerve wracking over the off-season when you have a good year like we had last year to — in hopes that you get the year started off halfway decent. It hasn’t been great, but it’s certainly been good. Test was uneventful today — which is a good thing. Looking forward to the rest of the week.”
He added that he feels his team learned a lot and the engineers will have a lot of notes to go on. Being “scatterbrained”, Bowyer says that he leaves all the notes in their hands, focusing on his job.
“(Brian) Pattie’s (crew chief) done a good job of relaying the right information to me that I need to know to do my job and I let him do his,” Bowyer said. “I don’t know if remove is the right word, but certainly your job title has changed in a big way.”
He followed by Juan Pablo Montoya, Mark Martin, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.
In the afternoon, it’d be Roush Fenway Racing driver Greg Biffle leading the charts with a lap of 28.507 seconds. Biffle currently sits sixth in points after finishing sixth and 16th in the opening two races. He was 15th in the morning session. 2012 Daytona 500 Champion and points leader Jimmie Johnson was second, followed by Martin, Edwards and Harvick.
Rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was sixth, followed by Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola and Juan Pablo Montoya. Almirola is encouraged by the start that he has had for this season, currently sitting ninth in points. He attributes that to the fact that he has been able to work with the same group of guys again this year.
“Every year you always get excited about going back to race,” he mentioned. “I’m a racer. That’s what I love to do, but this year I was excited about the opportunity I had ahead of me. We’ve gotten off to a good start and proven that all of my expectations were correct and the big thing we wanted to focus on this year was to not dig ourselves a hole at the beginning.”
Daytona 500 pole sitter Danica Patrick was 31st in the first session, and 19th in the second session.