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Momentum carries Kenseth in Vegas practice

March 07, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com

Momentum carries Kenseth in Vegas practice
Toyotas top leaderboard at Thursday practice

After a lackluster start to the 2013 campaign -- with a new team, no less -- Matt Kenseth might be gaining the traction he needs to get rolling.

Kenseth, currently 18th in the points standings after finishing 37th in the Daytona 500 and seventh in last week's Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, earned the top speed in Generation-6 car testing Thursday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the first testing this year on a 1.5-mile track.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver turned his 25th lap in 28.816 seconds with a best speed of 187.396 mph in his No. 20 Toyota.

Kenseth was followed by Subway Fresh Fit 500 winner Carl Edwards, who was just off the pace with a best speed of 187.363. Kevin Harvick, 187.344; Martin Truex Jr., 187.214; and Dale Earnhardt Jr., 186.819, rounded out the top five.

Denny Hamlin, who was fined $25,000 on Thursday, ran his 13th lap in an even 29 seconds, placing him 10th. Daytona 500 winner and current points leader Jimmie Johnson was 11th with a speed of 185.663. Reigning Sprint Cup champion and budding rival Brad Keselowski was right behind him at 12th with a speed of 185.663.

Tony Stewart, winner of last season's Kobalt Tools 400 on March 11, placed 17th after running his 27th lap in 29.223. Casey Mears turned the most laps -- 82 -- the 55th of which netted him a 26th-best time of 29.411.

Forty-two cars got on the track in the first session -- Michael McDowell and Mike Bliss stayed in the garage.

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