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Austin Dillon sets pace in first Nationwide practice

March 01, 2013, Staff report,

RCR driver sets bar high in early prep at Phoenix

Austin Dillon led the way Friday in the first practice for Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.


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Dillon, driving the No. 3 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, clocked a fast lap of 133.087 mph late in the session in preparation for Saturday's Dollar General 200 fueled by AmeriGas.

LEADERBOARD: Nationwide practice

Dillon's fast lap knocked Kyle Busch's 132.173 mph lap to second place on the speed chart. Busch, driving the No. 54 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, is seeking his first Nationwide win since Sept. 2011.

Dillon's RCR teammate Brian Scott (131.699 mph) was third on the speed charts in another Chevrolet. Rookie Kyle Larson, involved in last weekend's severe crash on the final lap at Daytona International Speedway, was fourth-fastest at 131.109 mph. He was just ahead of Regan Smith, who chimed in at 131.071.

Daytona 500 champ Jimmie Johnson, scheduled to make just his second Nationwide start in three years, was sixth-fastest with a best lap at 131 mph flat. Aric Almirola, Justin Allgaier, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick completed the top 10.

Rookie Travis Pastrana was the first driver on the track, logging the most laps -- 53 -- in the opening practice on the 1-mile oval. He wound up 20th out of 38 drivers on the speed list.


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