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Dale Earnhardt Jr. tops first Phoenix practice

February 28, 2014, Staff report,

Daytona 500 winner heads leaderboard; Busch tops Nationwide

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series first practice (Results)

Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. continued his roll of fast performances Friday, leading the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Phoenix International Raceway.

Earnhardt, in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, turned a lap of 138.723 mph, slightly slower than the track record of 139.222 mph that teammate Jimmie Johnson established at the mile-long track last November. Earnhardt, the series points leader, has two career victories at Phoenix but none since 2004.

Joey Logano logged a late lap in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford to take second place on the practice charts at 138.344 mph. Kyle Busch was third-best at 138.238 mph in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in preparation for Sunday's The Profit on CNBC 500 (3 p.m. ET, FOX).

Greg Biffle was fourth-fastest with Austin Dillon, the Coors Light Pole Award winner for the Daytona 500, completing the top five.

Kurt Busch, a winner at Phoenix in 2005, scraped the wall in Turn 2 in the second half of the 90-minute session. He drove the No. 41 Chevrolet to the 26th-fastest lap, just ahead of Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Danica Patrick (27th) and Tony Stewart (28th).

NASCAR Nationwide Series first practice (Results)

Former NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Brad Keselowski topped the first practice leaderboard Friday at Phoenix International Raceway.

Keselowski, winless in 14 Nationwide starts on the mile-long track in the desert, drove the No. 22 Team Penske Ford to a fast lap of 131.974 mph. He was three thousandths of a second better than Elliott Sadler, who clocked in at 131.960 mph in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in preparation for Saturday's Blue Jeans Go Green 200.

Kyle Busch, Sadler's teammate in the No. 54 JGR Toyota, was third-best at 131.825 mph. Busch has a series-record six wins at PIR, including a sweep of last season's two Phoenix races.

Regan Smith, the series points leader and last weekend's winner in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, was fourth fastest in the JR Motorsports No. 7 Chevy. Rookie teammate Chase Elliott brushed the outside Turn 2 wall 10 minutes into the 50-minute session and wound up 12th-fastest of the 37 drivers who participated in the opening practice.

NASCAR Nationwide Series final practice (Results)

Six-time Phoenix International Raceway winner Kyle Busch topped the charts of the second practice of the day with a fastest speed of 132.309 mph. 

Busch, who came in as third fastest in the first Nationwide practice holds a series-record of six wins at the track and even swept the two Phoenix races last season. 

Second fastest was Brian Scott who clocked in at 132.178 mph. Scott was holding onto the top spot for the majority of practice until Busch stole the lead. Scott finished 9th in the first practice.

Third fastest was Matt Kenseth who finished sixth in the first practice. Kenseth earned third in this session with a speed of 132.115 mph. 

Jeffrey Earnhardt, nephew of Sprint Cup veteran Dale Earnhardt Jr., spun out at the start of the practice and ended up finishing 32nd in the session

Saturday's Blue Jeans Go Green 200 presented by Cotton, The Fabric of Our Lives will be shown on ABC at 3:45 p.m. ET. 


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wild Daytona 500

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in Victory Lane

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others in Daytona pileup

READ: Official Daytona 500
race results