Truex and Ambrose Pace Friday Texas Sprint Cup Practice Sessions


Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images

By: Toby Christie – Follow on Twitter @Tobalical

The trend of 2013 is that guys like Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Brad Keselowski will be among the quickest of the litter, but two surprise names topped the charts Friday during the two practice sessions at Texas Motor Speedway.

It was Martin Truex Jr. who paced the first session with a lap of 192.143 mph. Earnhardt and Johnson ranked second and third in the opening session, while Jamie McMurray and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five fastest.

Harvick’s great run was all for not, as the engine in his No. 29 Chevrolet would expire in the next practice session.

That second session was led by Australian-born Marcos Ambrose, who put down a lap of 191.354 mph. Kyle Busch, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch rounded out the top-four, while Martin Truex Jr. was fast yet again in fifth.

Truex has racked up quite a few laps in the two sessions, which is surprising because of Toyota’s durability problems so far in 2013. If the car can hold together, expect Truex to be a big player for the win this weekend in Texas.

Brian Vickers who is filling in for the injured Denny Hamlin for the first time this week, was 15th in the first session and 13th in the second session.

Also someone who is no longer shocking people with the speed of his car is Casey Mears. Mears has finished 16th or better in four of the six races in 2013, and he continued his hot streak with the 10th fastest time in the first practice session.

Qualifying for the NRA 500 will commence at 5:40 pm local time (central standard time).