Thursday, January 10, 2013

Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing dominate day 1 of pre-season testing

Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth put the
Gen-6 JGR Toyota Camry's to the test 
The all to brief NASCAR off-season pretty much came to an end today as teams returned to Daytona for day one of pre-season testing. Denny Hamlin topped the speed charts Thursday, with a best time of 46.691, 195.712 mph. He was followed by Joe Gibbs Racing team mates Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch in the afternoon session.

Defending Daytona 500 winner Kenseth was also tops in the morning session, followed by Marcus Ambrose and Danica Patrick. 

The Gen-6 car received high marks on track. In the afternoon session, 1.7 seconds was the margin between Denny Hamlin in first and Bobby Labonte in 34th. 

Robin Pemberton was impressed. “We have been working on this car for nearly two years and we have been at the track on and off for well over a year in different stages and forms and configurations of the car,” Pemberton said. “Because of the depth of everybody, throughout our entire industry, we were able to take these things and put a long lead time in them and develop a better product.” Pemberton said.

"Everybody is super excited about this race car and what it brings to our sport and the identity that it brings back to the passenger cars you see on the roads,” said Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 15 5-hour Energy Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing. “This is my first time I've been in it. I didn't do the Charlotte test so it was fun to get out there and see what it was all about. They're certainly cool looking. [It’s great] to see everybody's cars down here and be back to racing.”

“I couldn’t be looking forward to it more,” Edwards said. “I think it will be an exciting year for me. I would like to put last year out of my memory and not think about it too much. Not in the last few years have I been this excited to go racing. I think it is probably because my offseason has been a little longer than most. I didn’t go to Vegas [for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week] so I have been ready to go.”

Teams take to the track tomorrow as well, with day 2 kicking off at 9am.

Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR

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