Happy hour practice sets tone for race

Final practice for the NASCAR Winston Cup cars occurred at mid-day with track temperatures and conditions more like the start of the race will be on Sunday compared to a cold and damp Friday qualifying. At the Michigan International Speedway,...

Final practice for the NASCAR Winston Cup cars occurred at mid-day with track temperatures and conditions more like the start of the race will be on Sunday compared to a cold and damp Friday qualifying.

At the Michigan International Speedway, most teams made significant changes from the morning practice as track temperatures are above 100 degrees and impacted the handling. There was a smell of gear oil and shock oil in the garage area as the teams scrambled to make changes in the 55 minutes between morning practice and the Happy Hour this final 45 minute session is called.

Most cars were in race trim and the times were significantly lower than the qualifying times. Many stopped by the Union 76 fueling station and topped- off the fuel cell for a full tank run. This will give the first indication of fuel mileage in race trim and race set up handling on full tanks.

Bobby Labonte, the Sirius 400 Polesitter put in another strong run and at mid session topped the charts with a speed of 182 mph, some 7 mph slower than yesterday. Labonte finished the session with no improvement in that earlier time.

Ricky Craven was second quickest followed by Jeremy Mayfield in third. Ryan Newman was fourth fastest and rounding out the top five was Tony Stewart. All the cars behind Labonte were in the 181 mph range.

Practice was halted by Brett Bodine's wreck and it took the track crew a bit longer than 30 minutes to clean up the debris and restack the rows of tires dislodged by the impact.

When the track went green for the final few minutes, no one could improve on their earlier time.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Brett Bodine , Bobby Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Ryan Newman , Ricky Craven