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Martin tops final Sprint Cup practice

March 23, 2013, Staff report,

No. 55 driver shows improvement after running most laps in early practice


Mark Martin showed he learned something from running 39 laps in the early Saturday practice, taking the top time in the final run before Sunday's Auto Club 400. Halfway through practice Martin held the fastest individual lap, as well as best five and 10 consecutive laps. After running 30 laps, Martin finished with a best lap time of 39.269 seconds and a best speed of 183.351 mph.

Clint Bowyer took the second-fastest lap of 39.356 seconds and a best speed of 182.945 mph, with his best lap coming on Lap 1. Bowyer ran 34 laps. AJ Allmendinger ran the most laps with 37.

Toyotas took the top three spots on the leaderboard with Matt Kenseth in third, .110 seconds behind Martin with a best lap time of 39.379. Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski followed with best laps of 39.470 and 39.479 seconds, respectively.

Greg Biffle, who sat at the top of the chart in the earlier practice, battled a tight car to finish in eighth, .261 seconds off from Martin's time. His best speed was 182.140 mph, compared to his earlier 186.253.

Last week's race winner, Kasey Kahne, finished with the sixth-fastet lap, .257 seconds behind Martin. Polesitter Denny Hamlin fell just short of the top 10, finishing in 11th, while Nationwide polesitter Kyle Busch ran 19th. Danica Patrick ran 22 laps and finished 36th.


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Early practice results:

Greg Biffle ran his first practice lap in 38.657 seconds in the early Sprint Cup Series practice for the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Saturday, a measure that stood throughout the entire session.

Biffle’s best speed of 186.253 mph topped the leaderboard, while the driver of the No. 16 Ford turned 37 total laps. AJ Allmendinger, third in Friday’s practice, finished just behind Biffle at 186.191.

Kyle Busch, pole-winner Denny Hamlin, and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five, with speeds of 185.342, 185.276, and 185.261, respectively.

Clint Bowyer, tops in Friday’s practice, finished right outside the top five in sixth place with a time of 38.878. Last year’s race-winner Tony Stewart was 14th with a time of 39.223.

Reigning Sprint Cup champion and current points leader Brad Keselowsi, who, despite finishing third in qualifying, will be starting at the back of the pack on Sunday after an engine change, was 18th with a best speed of 182.992.

California native Jimmie Johnson missed the top 10, placing 13th. He turned his second lap in 39.211 with a best speed of 183.622.

Mark Martin ran the most laps -- 39.


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