Toyotas tops in opening practice

Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 ARRIS Surfboard Toyota, climbs into his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on July 7, 2016 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 ARRIS Surfboard Toyota, climbs into his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on July 7, 2016 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 ARRIS Surfboard Toyota, climbs into his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on July 7, 2016 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Getty Images)

SPARTA, Ky. –Led by Carl Edwards, four Toyota drivers topped the speed chart in Thursday’s opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Kentucky Speedway.

Edwards posted a lap at 186.451 mph (28.962 seconds) and was the only driver to break the 29-second barrier on his fastest lap. Kyle Busch, Edwards’ Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and the defending race winner was second fastest at 186.181 mph (29.004 seconds).

Martin Truex Jr. (185.217 mph) had the third-quickest lap, followed by Denny Hamlin (185.084 mph).

For Edwards, the opening practice was a learning experience on a repaved, reconfigured race track.

“For us, we scuffed a bunch of tires,” Edwards said. “While we’re doing that, I’m looking at the little nuances of the track, where are the bumps, the grip level, exactly where is the speed. This track is difficult.

“We were talking about the differences between Turns 1 and 2 and 3 and 4. It’s a bigger difference than any of the mile-and-a-halfs we go to. It’s huge. Determining how you’re going to balance the car to be aggressive and how loose you need to be here or there, it’s kind of hard to figure it out – but that’s what I was working on.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.