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NASCAR Sprint Cup: Notes from the First Practice at Phoenix

One thing is crystal clear about the newly paved surface at Phoenix International Raceway: It is faster than ever before. Five drivers were able to rip off laps that were faster than the fastest qualifying lap ever recorded in Phoenix during the first Sprint Cup practice. 26.395 seconds was the fastest lap at Phoenix, set recently in February 2011. On the new track, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Burton, Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman and David Ragan were all able to eclipse this mark. Jeff Burton was able to clinch the top spot in the overcast, cloudy conditions: 25.836 seconds, more than one half second faster than ever before. Much effort was made to wear the new track in before practice even began. Test cars ran 600 laps apiece to grind some rubber i...

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