Kyle Busch may be giving the NASCAR community something to look out for in 2008, leading both the morning and afternoon session on the final day of week one testing for the Sprint Cup Series.
Busch, in his No. 18 Toyota, set the fast time during the morning session with a 47.927 (187.786 mph) as he seems to be adapting well over at Joe Gibbs Racing. Second quickest in the morning session, which was available for drafting, was A.J. Allmendinger in his No. 84B Toyota with a time of 48.032 (187.375 mph). Third fastest was Greg Biffle in the No. 16A Ford with a time of 48.705 (187.207 mph).
It looks like Toyota has got their program in the right shape, at least for testing and superspeedways. Busch and Allmendinger had the top two times in the morning and there were three other drivers in the top-20 during the morning session. The third fastest Toyota was Jacques Villeneuve in the No. 27A, who was 13th overall with a time of 48.295 (186.355 mph). Villeneuve has continued to impress along with Toyota so far, even though it is still very early in 2008.
Ford had a rough morning, with Biffle being the only Ford in the top-ten and there were only four of the 'Blue Oval' brand in the top-20 overall. Biffle was the fastest Ford, third overall and Carl Edwards in the No. 99A Ford was 12th overall at 48.271 (186.447 mph). The third quickest Ford was Matt Kenseth's No. 17B with a time of 48.374 (186.050 mph). Ford really looked to be struggling in the morning session, but Roush-Fenway Racing can find some relief in the fact that four fastest times posted by the Ford teams were by their three drivers with Kenseth posting the fourth fastest time for a Ford in his No. 17A.
Chevrolet looked to be the strongest in the morning drafting session, having seven cars in the top-20. Jimmie Johnson was the fastest Chevy with a time of 48.090 (187.149 mph) to place him fifth overall in the No. 48B. Jeff Gordon grabbed the second quickest time for the 'Bow-Tie' manufacturer with a 48.101 (187.106 mph); his time was fast enough for sixth overall in the No. 24B. Mark Martin in the No. 8A had the third best time for a Chevrolet during the morning session, posting a time of 48.150 (186.916 mph).
Dodge also struggled during the morning session, only having four cars in the top-20. Kurt Busch continued to show his strength at superspeedways with the fourth best time overall in his No. 2B Dodge, Busch clocked in at a 48.075 (187.207 mph). Reed Sorenson took his No. 41B Dodge to seventh overall with a time of 48.116 (187.048 mph) and improved today after having a blown tire yesterday. The third quickest Dodge was none other than Juan Pablo Montoya in his No. 42A, with a time of 48.348 (186.150). Montoya continues to impress and this could be a breakout year for him in Cup; however, he needs to find friends on these plate tracks though if he wants to succeed.
The afternoon session saw much of the same as the morning session although Kyle Busch picked up his time and once again had the fastest time of the session.
Busch in the No. 18B Toyota, improved to a 47.662 (188.830 mph) and was closely followed by Kenseth in his No. 17B Ford in second. Kenseth timed in with a 47.747 (188.494 mph) and was the only other driver besides Busch to pace faster than 188 mph. Sorenson put up the fastest time for Dodge in the afternoon session with the third best overall at 47.894 (187.915 mph).
Toyota's fortunes didn't get much better in the afternoon with still only four cars in the top-20. With Busch being the quickest, Allmendinger followed suit again and set the second quickest time in a Toyota. Allmendinger clocked in at 47.922 (187.805 mph) in the No. 84B and the third quickest Toyota was David Reutimann's No. 00B with a time of 48.111 (187.067 mph).
Ford did a little better in the afternoon session, having five cars in the top-20. Kenseth lead the way for the Ford teams in the afternoon, being the second quickest overall. The second quickest Ford though was Carl Edwards and his No. 99A Ford at 48.089 (187.153 mph). Edwards was followed closely by his teammate, having the third fastest time in the No. 16B Ford, Biffle was third quickest with a time of 48.104 (187.095 mph).
Dodge took the third quickest time overall with Sorenson and had five cars in the top-20. Second quickest for Dodge was Kurt Busch in the No. 2A. Busch ran a 48.104 (187.095 mph) and was 11th overall on the speed charts. Montoya took the third quickest time for Dodge with a 48.107 (187.083 mph) in the No. 42B. Montoya's time was fast enough for 12th overall in the afternoon session.
Lastly it was the Chevrolets who once again had the most cars in the top-20, with six. The fastest Chevrolet was Jeff Gordon in the No. 24B with a 47.914 (187.837 mph); good enough for fourth overall. Second quickest was the No. 1B driven by Martin Truex Jr. who clocked in with a 47.922 (187.805 mph) for fifth overall. Third quickest was Casey Mears in the No. 5B Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet with a time of 48.040 (187.344 mph), and Mears' time was fast enough for seventh overall.
Today was the final day of testing for Week 1 of NASCAR Preseason Thunder and the second round of testing begins on January 14th with the second set of Cup drivers, including Dale Earnhardt Jr. for his first time in his new ride with Hendrick Motorsports. New comer to the series, IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti will be on-track.