Martin Truex, Jr. turned the quickest lap during final practice for NASCAR Nextel Cup teams at New Hampshire International Speedway. Truex's lap of 128.615 mph just surpassed the second fastest time of Brian Vickers. "I consider Loudon to be a...
Martin Truex, Jr. turned the quickest lap during final practice for NASCAR Nextel Cup teams at New Hampshire International Speedway. Truex's lap of 128.615 mph just surpassed the second fastest time of Brian Vickers.
"I consider Loudon to be a home track for me," Truex said. "It holds some special memories. We used to race there a lot in the Busch North Series. I got my first victory in Busch North there and we usually have a lot of family and friends show up for the race.
"New Hampshire is not that far from where I grew up in New Jersey so there is a lot of people in the area who saw me race when I was coming up through the ranks."
Truex led 13 laps on his way to Victory Lane in the No. 8 Chevy Busch car here last season.
"You definitely have to take care of your equipment at Loudon," Truex said of racing at Loudon. "You race hard into the corners and mash the brakes. If you're not careful, you'll burn the brakes up. It's pretty tight around there, too. Usually, only one racing groove develops and that leads to a lot of bumping and banging, so you just try to keep the fenders on it and be there at the end."
Vickers was second with a lap of 128.550 mph, "We'll tackle the Hendrick horsepower, which is obviously pretty good. I think that we've talked about it before, when the gear roll came into place last year, we were so chasing the rpm thing so much that kind of set us back a little bit, but I definitely think we're back where we need to be pretty consistently and the power is good.
"But I wouldn't relate four Hendrick cars in the top 7 to just power. We went up to Milwaukee and did some testing, along with a lot of other things, as well. That obviously helped a lot and we learned some new stuff, but we're trying to get the cars better, as well. I think that is a combination of a lot of things."
Kyle Busch was third with a lap of 128.355 mph.
"The biggest thing is just being able to turn the center here and having a good drive off," said Busch of driving at NHIS. "You have to be able to mash the gas and get off the corners well too. The biggest thing sometimes though is when you turn the center then you're loose off and then as soon as your center gets a little bit tight then you're good off so you can't ever really find a balance at this place. It's very, very difficult to do that."
David Stremme and Carl Edwards complete the top five times. "Yesterday was the first time on track with this car," commented Stremme. "We didn't have a lot of time on ours, but we go it in the show. We adjusted some stuff this morning, and it seems be pretty good. Reed and I are pretty close. Casey is a little different, but I think they're going to change over. That's what teammates are for. It's paying off being able to share information.
"We haven't been near where we wanted. We've turned it around quite a bit, but it's a building process. We went through a crew chief change, but we still haven't got the results we wanted. I haven't really been down on myself. I've actually been pretty happy with the way things are going. We've changing a lot of stuff and it just takes some time to get results. Our team was brand new at the beginning of the year. We rebuilt about eight races in and it's going to take time.
Noteworthy: Point leader Jimmie Johnson was 12th fastest, "This has been a strong track for everyone here at Hendrick Motorsports. I can remember Brian Vickers running strong. Kyle (Busch) has always been strong here and Jeff's (Gordon) record here isn't too bad. A perfect situation is to have all four Hendrick cars up there fighting for the win. I know one of these days we'll get that opportunity - maybe it'll be Sunday."
Pole sitter Ryan Newman turned the 16th quickest time.