Race Weekend Central

Down in Daytona 2008: Speeds Up in Final Day of Session 1

Editor’s Note: Mike Lovecchio will be covering testing in a variety of ways for us this January at Daytona. To read his reports from earlier in the week, be sure to click the links below:

Cup Testing, Day 1
Cup Testing, Day 2

The first session of NASCAR Sprint Cup testing is over, and after Jimmie Johnson topped single-car runs each of the first two days, it was the Toyotas that were at the top of the chart in drafting practice. JJ Yeley led the PM session Tuesday in the Hall of Fame Racing Toyota, then Kyle Busch put his Joe Gibbs Racing Camry at the top of the charts in both drafting sessions Wednesday.

Speeds jumped up considerably on the second day of drafting, with Busch posting the top speed of with 188.830 mph. Yeley ran 187.359 mph on Tuesday; with more rubber being laid down on the racetrack, speeds should continue to increase when the second wave of Cup drivers return on Jan. 14.

Speaking of rubber, tires were on several drivers’ minds yesterday, as blistering was reported by multiple teams in practice. Reed Sorenson blew out his right rear and spun during the three-day session, and Carl Edwards in particular expressed noticeable wear on his sets of Goodyears. However, NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton assured the media there will be no changes to the current compound between now and the beginning of Speedweeks in February.

Up next for winter testing at Daytona is the Craftsman Truck Series – they’ll be in town January 11 through January 13, and the three-day affair is expected to feature each full-time truck team looking to compete in the series. The Nationwide Series will begin their batch of testing January 18th through January 22nd.

Frontstretch will continue live coverage for the remainder of testing from the garage.

Notes from Daytona — Session 1, Day 3

  • AJ Allmendinger continues to run strong, posting the second-fastest speed in the AM session (187.375).
  • Toyota has topped the charts for each of the three draft sessions during testing – a far cry from last February in Daytona, when the highest finishing Camry in the Great American Race was Dale Jarrett in 23rd.
  • Rookie Jacques Villeneuve – who had been one of the quickest cars in single-car sessions – failed to do better than 13th in drafting practice with his No. 27 Toyota.
  • The next time the teams from Session 1 will return to Daytona will be for SpeedWeeks on Feb. 8. Teams still looking for answers must now gather notes from their teammates testing in Session 2 – and for those single-car efforts, they must hope three days at the beach are plenty good enough.

Top-Three Overall Drafting Speeds

  1. Kyle Busch – 188.830 mph (PM)
  2. Matt Kenseth – 188.494 (PM)
  3. Reed Sorenson – 187.915 (PM)

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