DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Preseason Thunder testing with the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car continued on Friday at Daytona International Speedway in advance of the 55th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 24.
During single-car runs in the morning session, Richard Childress Racing’s Jeff Burton in the No. 31 Chevrolet topped the speed charts with a lap speed of 194.805 mph. Rounding out the top five were teammate Kevin Harvick (193.557), Matt Kenseth (193.121), Paul Menard (192.963) and Greg Biffle (192.719).
In the afternoon session, which included drafting sessions, speeds reached 199 mph with 2011 Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne leading the speed charts with a lap of 199.650 mph.
During the drafting session, a multi-car incident on the backstretch sent several cars to the garage. Among the drivers involved in the incident were Marcos Ambrose, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Regan Smith and Kasey Kahne.
Kenseth to attempt back-to-back: Matt Kenseth, the 2012 Daytona 500 champion, has been fast throughout Preseason Thunder with his new ride for 2013 season – the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.
After spending his entire career with Roush Fenway Racing, the 40-year-old driver is joining Joe Gibbs Racing and will be teammates with Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.
He will look to become the first driver to repeat as Daytona 500 champion since Sterling Marlin accomplished that feat in 1994-95.
“Man, if I could predict that I'd be making a bunch of money in Vegas, that's for sure,” Kenseth said. “These are always really unpredictable races. We're going to do everything we can just like you do every year. Show up down here and try to win the race. Like I said, it's always unpredictable. It's the biggest race of the year and there's a lot of effort that goes into these races and certainly plate racing is anything but predictable.
“Hopefully, we'll have cars like we did last year. Last year we had really, really fast cars and Greg (Biffle) and I were able to team up pretty much all four races and stay toward the front for all of those races. So, hopefully I'll have a car that runs like that again and can hang out up front somewhere and have a shot."
Preseason Thunder will conclude on Saturday. A section of the Oldfield Grandstands is open with free access through the lobby of the Daytona International Speedway Ticket and Tours Building.
Tickets for Preseason Thunder Fan Fest are $10 on Saturday and are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com. Children 12 and under will receive free admission.
Budweiser Speedweeks At Daytona tickets are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.