Ryan Newman's U.S. Army Veterans Day Chevrolet

Dale Earnhardt Jr's No.88 Retro Diet Mt. Dew/National Guard Chevrolet
More than one veteran NASCAR racer topped the charts Friday in the Sprint Cup Series. The final fast driver Friday afternoon was PAUL MENARD/No.27 Peak/Menards Chevrolet (nine years in Cup) with a lap of 141.121 mph, unofficially faster than the existing qualifying record of 22.224/137.279 mph set this spring by Chase Points Leader, CARL EDWARDS/No.99 Aflac Ford.

Edwards finished second in the second practice, after leading for a spell. He eased into his top spot, after running P34 in the first practice, of 46 drivers. Edwards is aiming for his third consecutive Cup pole at PIR.

Other fast veteran drivers were JAMIE McMURRAY/No.1 McDonald’s Chevrolet (ten years in Cup); and KEVIN HARVICK/No.29 Budweiser Chevrolet (eleven years in Cup) who led much of the second session, before being pipped by McMurray.

JEFF BURTON/No.31 Caterpillar Global Mining Chevrolet (18 years in Cup) was the fastest driver in the first two-hour session at 25.702/140.067 mph, ahead of forty-five other drivers. Burton turned his fast time on Lap 29 of the 30 he ran.

TONY STEWART/No.14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet – three Chase points behind Edwards – ran P11 in the first session, but only eked out P36 in the second practice. This is his thirteenth year in the Cup Series.

Cup Practice One was trouble free, all green laps.
Cup Practice Two, however, had a red flag for a loose wheel. ANDY LALLY/No.71 TRG Motorsports Ford had the mishap and spent the rest of the session up on jacks while his crew beavered away.

Three drivers will not make the Cup race. There are seven drivers who will have to qualify for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 race on time, rather than owner points.

Clint Bowyer's No.33 USO Chevrolet

The NASCAR Nationwide Series had three practices by Friday afternoon. Thursday there were two practices, one for two hours and one for an hour 40 minutes. Friday NNS ran another hour and 40 minutes.

RICKY STENHOUSE Jr/No.6 Ford Drive one. Ford, not quite yet veteran in his third year with NNS, was fastest in the sole Friday practice session, at 26.622/135.227 mph. He was also fastest in the second Thursday practice – 26.982/133.422 mph on his second to last lap of 40.

Stenhouse was second fastest in the first NNS practice session, behind TREVOR BAYNE/No.16 Ford, who turned a 27.746/129.748 mph. Bayne is also in his third year of NNS racing.

NNS has two female drivers, Rookie JENNIFER JO COBB/No.13 Lerner and Rowe Dodge; and DANICA PATRICK/No.7 Chevrolet.

The number of NNS drivers increased with each practice, starting with 39 drivers and ending with 47 for the last of three sessions.

Cobb ran last in the first and third practices, and forty-third of forty-five in the second session.

Patrick, who will be running NNS for the full 2012 season, was P22, P27, and P24, respectively, in the three sessions.

Cassie Gannis' No.70 Ford

In the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, more than half the field (23 of 43) are Rookies, twelve under the age of 21, and the field will start 40 drivers.

There are two female racers in K&N – JESSICA BRUNELLI/No.88 Pick-N-Pull Chevrolet – one of the 12, and CASSIE GANNIS/No.70 Ford.

Rookie CHAD BOAT/98 Curb Records Chevrolet was the fastest K&N driver at 27.056/133.057 mph.

FYI, the $50,000 fine NASCAR collected from KYLE BUSCH/No.18 Interstate Batteries Toyota goes to The NASCAR Foundation, as do all the collected fines. Then, in turn, The NASCAR Foundation donates to various children’s charities.

This weekend, to help celebrate Veterans Day, The NASCAR Foundation is partnering with Joining Forces and Blue Star Families to spearhead a movement to show support for military members and their families. It’s asking that folks send a postcard thanking the troops and also pledging to volunteer five hours in community services to honor the military families.

Clint Bowyer's car

Mike Bliss' No.32 Veterans United Home Loans Ford