Denny Hamlin was fastest in the first day of testing for the Daytona 500.
It was the first time NASCAR Sprint Cup teams performed a test in the new Gen-6 cars for 2013. Hamlin averaged 195.721 mph during a short session of pack running with his Joe Gibbs Toyota team-mates Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch, plus Mark Martin from Michael Waltrip Racing.
Kenseth had been fastest in the morning during single-car runs, when he lapped at an average of 192.757 mph. Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition, said he was content with the pace shown by the new cars considering teams were still adapting to it.
“It was a pretty smooth day. It was more important for the teams to just get time. Today was relatively uneventful. I think that we anticipated the speeds to be as good as they were. It’s probably a little bit quicker than what we were in the first practice down here last year, and everything looks like it’s fine,” Pemberton was quoted as saying by Autosport.
Pemberton did not believe the Toyotas’ pack run gave any hints as to the new car’s performance in drafting. “It’s just three cars. I don’t think you can draw any kind of conclusion to anything. It’ll be on how multiple cars catch another multiple group of cars and where the speeds go from there,” the official said.
The second day of the three-day test is scheduled on Friday with a three-hour morning stint and a four-hour afternoon session.