Teams Test at Texas

Kurt Busch

Kurt Busch was first and second, respectively, in today's two testing sessions at Texas Motor Speedway. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

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FORT WORTH, Texas - After racing on six different types of racetracks to start the 2013 season, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits its second 1.5-mile oval this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Gen-6 car made its intermediate-track debut last month in Las Vegas and with the majority of the schedule comprised of this type of track, NASCAR opened the doors a day early for testing on Thursday.

"This is a time for teams to get a good handle on it and an opportunity to run data they wouldn't ordinarily get a chance to do without burning a test," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition.

Last fall, NASCAR and Goodyear held a test at TMS to help determine the best tire and race package as the new car was getting ready for its inaugural season.

"Texas was one of the pivotal moments in the development of this car and the package we wound up handing off to the teams to race this year," Pemberton said.  "As we talked throughout last fall and over the winter, we'd been through a lot of iterations on the car with high downforce, low downforce and tire tests."

NASCARGreg Biffle, who was the fastest driver in Thursday's test, took part in the session last fall along with Kyle Busch, Paul Menard and Juan Pablo Montoya.

"They worked hard at helping us develop the package and it was the result of that test they put on here in the fall," Pemberton said.  "It was important for us and set the stage for what we have in 2013.

"We're off to a pretty good start for the year with the package we have and it seems to me that the teams are pretty happy with what they've been handed."

Biffle, the defending race winner this weekend, said the Gen-6 car has improved since the test last fall.

"It's come so far since then," said Biffle, who posted a top speed of 192.864 mph on Thursday.  "It was definitely a handful to drive then and now, for the first few laps on the racetrack the car has a lot of grip and is fun to drive."

Kurt Busch led Thursday's first session with a lap of 191.225 mph and backed it up with the second-fastest speed in the final half of Thursday's test at 192.369 mph.

Kyle Busch (191.639), Kevin Harvick (191.625) and Jeff Gordon (191.442) rounded out the top five.

NASCARDefending event pole winner Martin Truex Jr. was in the top 10 in both sessions.

"The car’s got good speed," said Truex, who has posted an average finish of 9.0 in his last three Texas starts.  "It’s driving well.  The new car is definitely different here.  We’re still learning a lot, especially on these bigger mile-and-a-half tracks with the aero package."

Jimmie Johnson, last year's fall Texas winner, posted the best 10-consecutive lap average in both sessions.

Sprint Cup teams will have two more practice sessions Friday before qualifying for Saturday night's NRA 500.

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