[media-credit name=”Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR” align=”alignright” width=”236″][/media-credit]Happy Hour in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series usually determines who made serious changes on their cars and who didn’t make serious changes on their cars. Take a quick look at how the first practice session ended for these race teams. We didn’t even mention Martin Truex Jr. at all during the first practice and now we definitely are. The #56 NAPA Toyota was 22nd fastest earlier.
Clint Bowyer impressed as well as he was the runner-up in our afternoon session and he was 32nd quickest earlier this morning. Juan Montoya, Kurt Busch, and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top 5.
Jeff Gordon looked pretty bad during Happy Hour until the very end. The #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet was only 32nd quickest on the track. Gordon went back to the garage and his crew stayed there for about 15 minutes. The time in the garage definitely proved worthwhile as Jeff posted the 4th fastest time before falling to 5th. Gordon ran 59 laps.
Now, what happened to Tony Stewart? Well, he struggled. He ran over 54 laps, but only made it up to 23rd. Rounding out the rest of the Top 10 were Paul Menard, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, and Brad Keselowski.
Ryan Newman found success with his backup car as you can see he posted the ninth quickest time, but unfortunately you don’t see me mentioning Matt Kenseth do you? Kenseth ran one lap with his backup car originally. It was the slowest lap of anyone on the track. He went back to the garage, then ran another lap. It was still terrible. Kenseth went back out and posted the 38th quickest lap of 43 cars.
So, who is the man to beat this weekend? In my opinion, it is going to be a Roush vs. Hendrick weekend! I can’t wait to share the race with you guys. Follow me on Twitter! http://www.twitter.com/SirRyanTheOHara