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.”