Joe Gibbs Racing ruled the opening day of NASCAR Sprint Cup testing at Daytona International Speedway.
Denny Hamlin paced the afternoon session Thursday with a lap of 195.712 mph. Matt Kenseth led the opening session with the fastest lap of the day, at 192.757 mph.
In the afternoon session, when drivers opted to try out drafting, Kenseth was second. JGR’s Kyle Busch, Michael Waltrip Racing’s Mark Martin and Richard Childress Racing’s Jeff Burton rounded out the top five.
RCR’s Paul Menard, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Danica Patrick (who is making her full-season debut), Richard Petty Motorsports’ Marcos Ambrose — sporting a new look with a beard — MWR’s Clint Bowyer and RPM’s Aric Almirola rounded out the session.
In the opening run, Ambrose was second with a lap of 192.736 mph. Patrick was third with a lap of 192.583 mph. Burton and Menard followed in the top five.
Kyle Busch, Bowyer, Hendrick Motorsports’ Jeff Gordon, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing’s Juan Pablo Montoya and Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon, who will run a limited Cup schedule this season, rounded out the top 10 in the opening run.
The drivers are back on track Friday and Saturday as NASCAR’s new car is being tested by the full field at the site of the season-opening race.