KEVIN HARVICK/No.4 Chevrolet was fastest in the so-called NASCAR Sprint Cup ‘Happy Hour’ practice. Saturday was a good day for him, being fastest also in the first session – where he had the fastest single lap, fastest five laps in a row and fastest ten laps in a row. This is Harvick’s first season with Stewart Haas Racing, after racing for Richard Childress Racing for years.
Early on GREG BIFFLE/No.16 Ford and Rookie KYLE LARSON/No.42 Chevrolet led for a few laps. Harvick took over before fifteen minutes into the 50-minute session. The top five running order remained the same from then on – Harvik, Larson, RYAN NEWMAN/Chevrolet, KURT BUSCH/No.41 Chevrolet, and JEFF GORDON/No.24 Chevrolet. From the half-way point, the top ten were all the same, with the next five drivers remaining in order: DALE EARNHARDT Jr/No.88 Chevrolet, JAMIE McMURRAY/No.1 Chevrolet, JOEY LOGANO/No.22 Ford, BRIAN VICKERS/No.55 Toyota, and last fall’s PIR winner, CARL EDWARDS/No.99 Ford.
This was the last session before Sunday’s 10th Annual The Profit on CNBC 500 presented by Small Business Fueling America NASCAR Sprint Cup Race. Say that fast five times.
The happiest part of Happy Hour was that the rain dried up and the sun broke with blue skies interspersed with scattered clouds, and gentle breezes. The sun made the track hotter. Happy Hour was even happier because my TWC mobile weather report on said it was 61 degrees with showers. Friday’s night rain storm was the first appreciable rain in 71 days.
REED SORENSON/No.36 Chevrolet may have had help from MARCOS AMBROSE/No.9 Ford in his Start-Finish spin into the inside wall at the session’s start. Sorenson drove off into the pits, where the crew slapped on some tape and sent him back out. Ambrose also pitted. The spin, right under the Starter stand, caused an immediate Red Flag. Sorenson had just come out and had no time registered on the monitor. He was slowest of 41 drivers in the session, and is gridded thirty-sixth for Sunday’s race. Ambrose was nineteenth fastest.
In the early morning practice session, KEVIN HARVICK/No.4 Chevrolet was fastest, followed by JAMIE McMURRAY/No.1 Chevrolet, Rookie KYLE LARSON/No.42 Chevrolet, DALE EARNHARDT Jr/No.88 Chevrolet, and BRAD KESELOWSKI/No.2 Ford. This certainly has been a fast weekend for Keselowski, with two pole positions and top times much of the weekend. He clocked a P20 for Happy Hour. The Penske driver has certainly been getting his share of seat time this weekend – no time to sit around and be bored. He hates being bored.