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Daytona test wraps with quieter final day

While Friday's eventful day of testing left a depleted field of cars at work on Saturday, the final sessions still proved valuable to drivers as the Cup season opener draws ever nearer.
The last of three days of pre-season testing at Dayton International Speedway went off quietly and uneventfully, compared with the big wreck on Friday that wiped out a third of the field.

As a result of crash damage to multiple cars sending several teams home early, only 21 drivers were at work on the 2.5-mile track on Saturday morning. That left two-time Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth to set the fastest lap before the lunchtime break with a time of 46.377s (194.062mph), nine hundredths of a second faster than 2011 Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne.

Danica Patrick also had a good day of it, putting in the third fastest time of the morning with a lap of 46.476s (193.648mph) ahead of the start of her first fill season in Sprint Cup.

“It has gone better than I expected,” said Patrick, insisting that the credit should go to crew chief Tony Gibson and his team. "I had hoped the car was good, but when you unload and get the car going for the first time on the track, you never know exactly what you're going to get."

Patrick had a short afternoon session, and only 15 drivers took part as others got an early start for home. Roush Fenway Racing's Greg Biffle beat his former team mate Kenseth to the top time after lunch with a lap of 46.169s (194.936mph), while Kenseth's new team mate at Joe Gibbs Racing - Kyle Busch - ended the day with the third fastest time of the day as the #18 was the last car left out on track before the session wrapped. The third JGR driver, Denny Hamlin, only took part in the Thursday sessions as he opted to fly home to be with his girlfriend who is expecting the imminent arrival of the couple's first child.

The fastest time of the three-day test was Bayne's 199.650mph on Friday afternoon before the 12-car wreck interrupted proceedings. That puts the early runs of the new Generation 6 model car significantly slower than the speeds recorded by the old Car of Tomorrow in 2012 which reached 206mph and forced NASCAR to introduce a flurry of changes to the cars to slow the cars to a safer velocity in time for the Daytona 500 in February.

On the basis of this pre-season test no such changes should be required before this year's race, and the Gen-6 car also seems to have put a stop to the tandem drafting that had crept in during recent years with the CoT and proved less than popular with fans.

"When it was a couple races old, the coolness wore off of it - it was something that wasn't very normal for us," NASCAR vice-president of competition Robin Pemberton admitted about the two-car push-drafting. As for the speeds of the cars: "We're right in the ballpark, and we don't foresee any changes."

Morning session

1. #20 Matt Kenseth Toyota 46.377s (Leader) 194.062mph (27 laps)
2. #21 Trevor Bayne Ford 46.467s (-0.090s) 193.686mph (14 laps)
3. #10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 46.476s (-0.099s) 193.648mph (23 laps)
4. #27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 46.519s (-0.142s) 193.469mph (21 laps)
5. #14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 46.587s (-0.210s) 193.187mph (21 laps)
6. #33 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 46.613s (-0.236s) 193.079mph (23 laps)
7. #31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 46.673s (-0.296s) 192.831mph (21 laps)
8. #16 Greg Biffle Ford 46.696s (-0.319s) 192.736mph (24 laps)
9. #18 Kyle Busch Toyota 46.699s (-0.322s) 192.724mph (14 laps)
10. #42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet 46.717s (-0.340s) 192.649mph (23 laps)
11. #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 46.717s (-0.340s) 192.649mph (8 laps)
12. #78 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 46.740s (-0.363s) 192.555mph (19 laps)
13. #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 46.868s (-0.491s) 192.029mph (23 laps)
14. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 46.880s (-0.503s) 191.980mph (24 laps)
15. #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 46.917s (-0.540s) 191.828mph (24 laps)
16. #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 46.976s (-0.599s) 191.587mph (18 laps)
17. #99 Carl Edwards Ford 46.978s (-0.601s) 191.579mph (18 laps)
18. #38 Josh Wise Ford 47.265s (-0.888s) 190.416mph (20 laps)
19. #13 Casey Mears Ford 47.307s (-0.930s) 190.247mph (27 laps)
20. #47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 47.670s (-1.293s) 188.798mph (30 laps)
21. #83 Travis Kvapil/David Reutimann Toyota 48.283s (-1.906s) 186.401mph (23 laps)

Afternoon session

1. #16 Greg Biffle Ford 46.169s (Leader) 194.936mph (23 laps)
2. #20 Matt Kenseth Toyota 46.221s (-0.052s) 194.717mph (23 laps)
3. #18 Kyle Busch Toyota 46.254s (-0.085s) 194.578mph (36 laps)
4. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 46.295s (-0.126s) 194.405mph (57 laps)
5. #42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 46.354s (-0.185s) 194.158mph (33 laps)
6. #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 46.372s (-0.203s) 194.083mph (20 laps)
7. #99 Carl Edwards Ford 46.458s (-0.289s) 193.723mph (24 laps)
8. #14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 46.528s (-0.359s) 193.432mph (11 laps)
9. #10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 46.529s (-0.360s) 193.428mph (11 laps)
10. #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 46.617s (-0.448s) 193.063mph (15 laps)
11. #21 Trevor Bayne Ford 46.629s (-0.460s) 193.013mph (5 laps)
12. #13 Casey Mears Ford 46.826s (-0.657s) 192.201mph (11 laps)
13. #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 46.828s (-0.659s) 192.193mph (8 laps)
14. #38 Josh Wise Ford 47.295s (-1.126s) 190.295mph (27 laps)
15. #83 Travis Kvapil/David Reutimann Toyota 48.198s (-2.029s) 186.730mph (34 laps)



Related Pictures

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Danica Patrick drives the #10 Chevrolet through the garage area during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway on January 12, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Trevor Bayne, driver of the #21 Ford, is pushed by his crew through the garage area during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway on January 12, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch drives the #18 Toyota during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway on January 12, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth drives the #20 Toyota during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway on January 12, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Greg Biffle drives the #16 Ford during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway on January 12, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Erik Jones, driver of the #51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Camping World Truck Series car (Photo Credit: NASCAR)
Erik Jones, driver of the #51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Camping World Truck Series car (Photo Credit: NASCAR)
Erik Jones in action in the #51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Camping World Truck Series car (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, right, poses with Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert and the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 11, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 United States Air Force Ford, walks through the garage area prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/NASCARA via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, lead a group of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet, climbs from his car after being involved in an on track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
A large incident occurs in turn three during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 United States Air Force Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 after the race was called for weather at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 United States Air Force Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 after the race was called for weather at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 United States Air Force Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 after the race was called for weather at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Hellmann`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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