Jarrett, Blaney lead return to Daytona testing

Jarrett, Blaney lead return to Daytona testing

So far, Dale Jarrett's 2008 season is already better than the whole of last year. Jarrett's No. 44B Toyota lead the morning session of single car runs with a 48.652 (184.987 mph) and he was followed closely by the driver with the most pressure as...

So far, Dale Jarrett's 2008 season is already better than the whole of last year. Jarrett's No. 44B Toyota lead the morning session of single car runs with a 48.652 (184.987 mph) and he was followed closely by the driver with the most pressure as the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers head into the new season. Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88B Chevy ran a 48.742 (184.646 mph) and started his season off well with Hendrick Motorsports, being second overall.

Dale Jarrett.
Photo by John Dunagan - Fastlines.

Newcomer Dario Franchitti is one of the drivers to watch this year and he had the third best time overall with a 48.832 (184.305 mph) in his No. 40 Dodge. This is would appear good for NASCAR as the top three times were all different manufacturers, but eight of the top ten times in the morning session were occupied by Toyota.

Jarrett was of course the quickest Toyota and he also set the second quickest time in his No. 44A at 48.854 (184.222 mph). Two-time champion Tony Stewart seemed to be adjusting well with the switch to Toyota as he had the third quickest time with a 48.968 (183.793 mph) in the No. 20A. Sixth through tenth were all Toyotas and they owned 12 of the top-20 times in the morning session.

Earnhardt Jr. will have every eye in the world watching him this season and he started it off right by being the fastest Chevy in the morning session. The second quickest Chevrolet was 11th overall, and it was the No. 87 of Jeff Fuller with a 49.123 (183.214 mph). Does that seem odd to you too?

Fuller is with Furniture Row Racing (teammate to Joe Nemecheck) and they are using Hendrick engines in 2008, although Fuller and the No. 87 are yet to announce if they will attempt the Daytona 500 as they have do not yet have a sponsor. Earnhardt Jr. really showed his strength by having two of the three times in the top-20. Earnhardt Jr. set a 49.154 (183.098 mph) in the No. 88A and it was a pretty bad morning for Chevy with only having three cars in the top-20 and only one in the top-ten.

Dario Franchitti.
Photo by John Dunagan - Fastlines.

Dodge was worse off than Chevrolet in the morning session with only one car in the top-ten and only two cars in the top-20. Franchitti had the fastest time for a Dodge and he also had the second quickest time with a 49.224 (182.838 mph) in the No. 40A. The third quickest was the No. 9B of Kasey Kahne in 22nd overall at 49.411 (182.146 mph). It was not a great showing for Dodge in the morning session.

Ford suffered the worst luck in the morning session with zero cars in the top-ten, and only three in the top-20. The highest Ford was David Gilliland who was 14th overall in his No. 38A with a 48.186 (182.979 mph) in his yet-unsponsored car. The second quickest was Gilliland again; this time in the in the No. 38B with a time of 49.332 (182.437 mph). He was just ahead of Boris Said in the No. 60B who took the third best time for a Ford. Said's time was only good enough for 20th overall at 49.394 (182.208 mph) and he'll have to pick it up if he wants to make the Daytona 500.

The morning session was a busy one though with 50 cars making a timed pass and a difference of only 1.661 seconds (4.969 mph) from 1st - 49th. Sterling Marlin in the No. 09A Chevy had the slowest time of the morning session with a 50.313 (178.880 mph).

In the afternoon session, which was also single car runs, Dave Blaney in the No. 22 Toyota set the best mark with a 48.532 (185.445 mph). Earnhardt Jr. once again held the second best time in his No. 88B Chevy with a 48.537 (185.426 mph) and Brian Vickers in the No. 83A Toyota took the third best time of the afternoon session with a 48.568 (185.307 mph).

Toyota once again dominated the speed charts having eight of the top-ten speeds and 11 of the top-20 speeds.

The fastest Toyota was Blaney and Vickers was the second fastest being third overall. The third quickest Toyota was Jarrett though in his No. 44A. Jarrett posted another great time in the afternoon session with a 48.572 (185.292 mph). Toyota seems to have got the single car run program figured out.

Dale Earnhardt Jr..
Photo by John Dunagan - Fastlines.

Earnhardt Jr. once again was the quickest Chevy and second overall while Fuller in the No. 87 was once again the second quickest Chevrolet with a 49.100 (183.299 mph), good enough for 18th overall. The third quickest time for a also belonged to Earnhardt Jr. who clocked in with the No. 88A at 49.102 (183.292 mph), which put him 19th overall. Chevy only had three cars in the top-20 during the afternoon session.

The fastest Dodge on the afternoon session was once again Franchitti whose 48.718 (184.737 mph) was good enough to put his No. 40 tenth overall. Second quick was the No. 12A of Ryan Newman who was 15th overall with a 49.027 (183.572 mph. Franchitti had the third best time also in his No. 40A with a 49.074 (183.397 mph), and it placed him 17th overall. Dodge was fortunate enough to have one car in the top-ten and four cars in the top-20.

Ford has a worse afternoon after it didn't look like they could get not go downhill from the morning session. Ford only had one car in the top-20 and still had zero cars place in the top-ten. The quickest was the No. 21A of Bill Elliott with a 49.071 (183.408 mph), and this was only good enough for 16th overall. The next highest was the No. 38B of Gilliland who had the second best time for Ford but was 21st overall with a 49.144 (183.135 mph). Second year driver David Ragan and his No. 6B had the third best time for Ford with a 49.162 (183.068 mph) and was 22nd overall.

Norm Benning had the slowest time in the afternoon session while testing the No. 57A Chevy and clocked in with a 50.889 (176.856 mph). Benning finished last in the afternoon session which featured 53 cars that made a timed run.

There are two more days of testing left in the second round of Preseason Thunder at Daytona International Speedway.

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Dale Jarrett , Jeff Fuller , Boris Said , Sterling Marlin , Ryan Newman , Dario Franchitti , Kasey Kahne , Norm Benning , Brian Vickers , David Gilliland , David Ragan , Dave Blaney
Teams Furniture Row Racing , Hendrick Motorsports