Truex the top drafter

Young guns Martin Truex Jr and Kasey Kahne emerged quickest in the second 'Draft Day' as the NASCAR Nextel Cup 'Even teams' got their final chance to run on Daytona International Speedway, before practice and qualifying for the two heats, known as the Twins, in February

Truex the top drafter

Speeds rose dramatically in Thursday's test as teams concluded two weeks of pre-season car testing at Daytona. Next up are four days of testing at the Las Vegas and California speedways from January 31 to February 3, which will give the teams a better idea of what they are doing at the non-restrictor plate tracks.

Normally, teams spend the first two days of the three-day Daytona tests working towards absolute car speed and character. On the third day, drivers join up in drafts, in approximation of race conditions for the Daytona 500. Speeds increase in the draft, and the increase was more marked in this week's 'even' session than it was for last week's 'odds'.

Last Thursday, Mike Bliss led the draft chart with a best lap in 48.139s (186.959mph), not much above speeds recorded in the solo runs. This week, defending Busch Series champ Martin Truex Jr, who will drive occasional Nextel Cup races for DEI this season, lapped in 47.670s (188.798mph), by far the fastest speed shown in the two weeks.

Dodge star Kasey Kahne led the morning session with a lap of 47.850s (188.088mph) in his new Charger, while Jeff Green, Bill Elliott, Jeff Burton, Bobby Hamilton Jr and Sterling Marlin also put up speeds past the 187mph mark.

In the afternoon, Truex Jr stole the show, running 0.2s faster than anyone else. Green again was second, giving the Petty group some hope for Speed Weeks, as he has been fast both alone and in the draft. Rusty Wallace was third, with the Hendrick Cherolets of Brian Vickers and Jimmie Johnson fourth and fifth.

Martin Truex (Chevrolet), 47.670s, 188.798mph
Kasey Kahne (Dodge), 47.850s, 188.088mph
Jeff Green (Dodge), 47.859s 188.052mph
Rusty Wallace (Dodge), 47.890s, 187.931mph
Brian Vickers (Chevrolet), 47.897s, 187.903mph
Jimmie Johnson (Chevrolet), 47.922s, 187.805mph
Joe Nemechek (Chevrolet), 47.941s, 187.731mph
Scott Riggs (Chevrolet), 47.947s, 187.702mph
Matt Kenseth (Ford), 47.954s, 187.680mph
Scott Wimmer (Dodge), 47.963s, 187.645mph

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