Joe Gibbs' Toyotas all post times in the top 10 on Friday
Carl Edwards jumped to the top of the speed chart in the closing minutes of the first Sprint Cup practice on Friday at Michigan International Speedway with a lap of 196.046 mph.
After posting the quick lap on his 29th circuit, Edwards thanked his crew for the effort and added, “This is going to be fun,” Edwards said. "Take good note of the wind and temperature.”
With the taller spoilers of the high drag aerodynamic packages, wind played into the feel of the cars for the drivers, among them June’s Michigan winner Kurt Busch.
"Hard crossing over with the head wind in Turn 3 is our biggest issue,” said Busch, who was 12th fastest with a lap of 193.040 mph.
Kevin Harvick was second quick in practice with a lap of 194.858 mph, followed by Austin Dillon (194.679mph), Tony Stewart (194.610mph), Denny Hamlin (194.133mph) and Kasey Kahne (193.903mph).
Stewart quick again
“It’s tight enough in the center of three and four that I had to lift,” said Stewart, who was fast in race trim and in qualifying setup. When asked about turns one and two, Stewart replied, “It was pretty good around there.”
Kyle Busch, David Ragan and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top 10. Team Penske's Joey Logano was the fastest Ford with a lap of 193.299 mph. Jeff Gordon, who will make his final start at MIS on Sunday was 15th (192.792 mph).
Crafton assists Almirola
Aric Almirola, who is under the weather, climbed into the No. 43 Ford with about 15 minutes remaining in the session after Matt Crafton dialed the car in over the first two hours.
"Across the middle and the exits, it's a little tight," said Almirola, who was 29th in practice "The steering feels a lot more numb than it usually does. It feels like I have a lot of power steering.”
Selecting a gear ratio
NASCAR also used the session to test a variety of gear ratios (3.64, 3.70 and 3.75) on Friday and polled the teams after practice before they decide on one. Motorsport.com was told teams must stick with whatever they choose for qualifying. The sanctioning body also has a 3.80 gear ratio available if necessary.