The first day of NASCAR Preseason Thunder Las Vegas gave 18-year old local boy Kyle Busch his first laps in a NASCAR Nextel Cup car at his hometown track.

Busch is set to make his Nextel Cup Series debut in the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on 7 March, and the younger brother of established NASCAR star Kurt Busch will also compete in the previous day's Sam's Town 300 Busch Series race. However, it would be fair to say the Durango High School graduate was in awe of the occasion.

"I guess overwhelmed, unreal, any other word that matches that," Busch said of his emotions, "But I have to realise that this is just another race track, and we have a lot of work to do."

Busch joined nine other Nextel Cup teams, as well as five from the Busch Series, taking part in the open test session on Monday. By the end of the day, he was unofficially listed second among the Nextel Cup cars, with a best lap of 31.82secs (169.447mph). Though no official speeds were kept, Jeremy Mayfield had the fastest known time of 31.70secs (170.347mph).

In addition to Busch and Mayfield, Nextel Cup drivers Kevin Harvick, Robby Gordon, Johnny Sauter, Kasey Kahne, Ken Schrader, Kyle Petty, Jeff Green and Kevin Lepage participated in the test.

Among the Busch Series team testing, reigning Winston Cup champion Matt Kenseth ran alongside Michael Waltrip, Ron Hornaday, Mark MacFarland, Eric McClure and David Reutimann.

There were no incidents on track during the test, which continues through to Thursday. Today [Tuesday], 17 more teams - including Hendrick drivers Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Brian Vickers, Gibbs drivers Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte and Ganassi drivers Sterling Marlin and Jamie McMurray - will join the test.

 

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