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Matt Kenseth fastest in practice for NASCAR race in Phoenix

March 01, 2013|By Jim Peltz
  • Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Florida.
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota, stands in the garage… (Jerry Markland / Getty Images )

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Kenseth posted the fastest lap Friday in the first practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.

Kenseth, driving the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, turned a lap of 137.023 mph during the 85-minute practice on the one-mile Phoenix International oval.

The two other Gibbs drivers, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin, also were fast, with Busch second and Hamlin fourth on the speed chart. Mark Martin was third-fastest in his Toyota.

Danica Patrick, who won the pole position and finished eighth in the season-opening Daytona 500 last Sunday, was 30th fastest in Friday's practice, at 134.163 mph.

Phoenix International will be more representative of NASCAR's full season than the 2.5-mile Daytona track, where NASCAR caps the cars' speeds for safety and the field is tightly bunched.

"Daytona is a very unique place, and [Phoenix] is kind of where the bulk of the season really starts," Patrick said. As a result, "I need to keep realistic expectations" about how she'll do in Sunday's race, she said.

"Is qualifying on the pole and leading laps what we should be thinking [in Phoenix] based on last weekend? No," Patrick said.

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