Super sub Vickers sets the pace in Friday Cup practice
For a moment, it seemed that Tony Stewart had returned behind the wheel of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy.
However, it was back-up driver Brian Vickers that earned the top spot in first practice at Martinsville Speedway on Friday.
With 15 minutes remaining in practice, Vickers knocked Joey Logano from the top of the speed chart at Martinsville Speedway on Friday with a lap 97.182 mph (19.428-sec.).
“I’m really proud of the effort of everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing,” Vickers said. “We made two race runs, but practice doesn’t mean anything. We have to go do it in qualifying.”
Denny Hamlin jumped up to second fastest with a lap of 97.108 mph. Hamlin, the defending winner of the STP 500, scored his fifth victory in 20 Martinsville starts last spring.
Still, Logano, who has earned the pole for the last two races at the half-mile paperclip-shaped track, showed no signs of slowing at Martinsville Speedway during first practice. He established the top speed of 96.939 mph seven minutes into the 80-minute session, but his final speed of 97.088 mph was third fastest on the board.
Ryan Newman (97.053 mph), Kyle Larson (97.023 mph), Kasey Kahne (96.894 mph), Ryan Blaney (96.795 mph), Matt Kenseth (96.711 mph), Paul Menard (96.681 mph) and Jamie McMurray (96.622 mph) rounded out the top 10 in single-lap runs.
Larson topped the list of Best 10 Consecutive Lap Averages with a speed of 94.369 mph, followed by Vickers (94.153 mph), Kahne (94.146 mph), AJ Allmendinger (93.395 mph) and Trevor Bayne (93.305 mph).
Bayne to a backup car
However, with less than a minute remaining in practice, Bayne backed the No. 6 Ford into the wall in Turns 1 and 2.
“Brakes locked up again,” Bayne told his crew over the radio. The No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing crew was forced to pull out the back up car for Bayne.
"There was nothing I could do about it," he said after climbing from the car. "Once it started bouncing I tried to save it and once it got backwards stood in the gas and it just backed in. I really hate this for our AdvoCare team. You never want to tear one up, especially not in practice, but maybe that rear wheel-hop won’t be in our back-up car and we can go qualify OK.”
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