Extra Track Time for Nationwide Teams
By: Jeff Wackerlin - @JWackerlin on May 22, 2013 | 7:30 P.M. EST
Joey Logano, who is making his third consecutive start in the No. 22 Penske Racing Ford, topped the four-hour session with a lap of 178.247 mph early in the day. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
CONCORD, N.C. - NASCAR Nationwide Series teams opened the holiday weekend of racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway a little early Wednesday with a practice/testing session for Saturday's HISTORY 300.
Joey Logano, who will be making his third consecutive start in the No. 22 Penske Racing Ford, topped the four-hour session with a lap of 178.247 mph early in the day.
"The car has speed in it," Logano said. "We’re trying a little here and a little there. Any time you unload and you’re P-1 on the board right off the bat, it gives you a sign of hope. This weekend should be fun."
Rookie Alex Bowman was second-fastest (178.071 mph) in the No. 99 RAB Racing Toyota, which is sporting a new sponsor - Microsoft Corp. This weekend will mark Bowman's Charlotte debut. He's coming off a pole and a 14th-place run in his last start on a 1.5-mile track, last month at Texas Motor Speedway.
"This year, our mile-and-a-half program has been strong and everybody at RAB Racing has given me great cars everywhere we've gone," Bowman said. "(Crew chief) Chris Rice has got something figured out and it's got me really comfortable at these places. It's definitely showing in the results."
Kyle Busch (177.866), Matt Kenseth (177.702) and Trevor Bayne (177.567) rounded out Wednesday's top five. Steve Wallace returned in a Nationwide Series car – the No. 66 Ford - for the first time since Richmond International Speedway in April 2012. He was 10th-fastest.
"We’re making gains," Wallace said. "We came out here and tested about two weeks ago. The track was a lot cooler then.
"This is a one-race deal. We've got one bullet in the gun and have to make a good run. Hopefully, we can come out of Charlotte with a good race and maybe ‘HomeWithRichard.com’ will come on board some more."
Michael Annett also made his return to the series, in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, after recovering from a fracture and dislocation of his sternum suffered in an accident during the season-opening DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 23.
"I'm feeling good," said Annett, who was 24th-fastest. "To be at the track and in a fire suit rather than watching atop the pit boxes is definitely exciting. We've got some work to do on the racecar. It's been pretty much since Homestead since we've been to a mile-and-a-half with me driving the car. There are some things that have changed that they've worked on in the off-season and this is the first time I've gotten the chance to try them out."
Annett is wearing a chest protector that he was getting used to in the car with the six-point harness. He's planning to go to the NASCAR R&D Center Thursday to see if any adjustments can be made for more comfort.
Wednesday's test session was the first since teams had extra practice at Richmond International Raceway back on April 25. With the rained-out test day at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier in the year, teams will also get an extra day on the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway in July along with an additional day for the series' first trip to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in August.
Nationwide Series practice continues Thursday at 1 p.m. (ET).