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Kenseth sets early pace in Dover practice

September 27, 2013, Staff report,

Sprint Cup points leader stays hot in opening session

RESULTS: Sprint Cup practice 1 | Qualifying order

DOVER, Del. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader Matt Kenseth jumped to the top of the speed chart in the final three minutes of Friday’s practice at Dover International Speedway, posting a fast lap of 163.473 mph around the concrete one-miler in his No. 20 Home Depot Toyota.

Kenseth, who has won the first two Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup races and holds a 14-point edge over Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch, sure didn't look like he was slowing down any this weekend, pacing the field at a track where he has a pair of wins.

New Jersey native Martin Truex Jr. was second fastest and had topped the speed chart at his hometown track for much of the waning minutes before Kenseth's fast lap.

Eight Chase drivers were among the top 10 fastest in practice. Joey Logano, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five. Chase drivers Clint Bowyer, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. followed with this spring's Dover race runner-up Juan Pablo Montoya ninth quickest and Greg Biffle 10th.

With overcast skies and moderate temperatures hovering around 70 degrees, track record lap times are expected for the afternoon qualifying session.

Kevin Harvick was the slowest of the 13 Chase drivers, his fast lap (160.249 mph) in the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevy, only 24th quickest overall and nearly 3 mph off Kenseth's pace.

Jimmie Johnson was 13th, Kasey Kahne was 17th and Ryan Newman, who led a good portion of the practice, ended up 20th.

Coors Light Pole Qualifying for Sunday's AAA 400 will start at 3:10 p.m. ET Friday.


WATCH: Preview Show
for Dover's AAA 400

READ: Dover's Top 10
Monstrous moments

WATCH: Throwback:
Dale Jr. wins, Sept. 2011

READ: Paint Scheme
Preview; see Kenseth's wrap