The two-car draft, very much in evidence here in February, was once again the order of the day, with Ambrose topping the speed chart at a surprising 199.411 mph while Allmendinger clocked in at 199.402 mph during the lone 45-minute practice Thursday.
Kurt Busch (Penske Racing), the series’ most recent winner, was third with teammate Brad Keselowski fourth. Likewise, another pair of teammates, Hendrick Motorsports Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon, were fifth and sixth.
Two Cup practices were scheduled, but because of rain at the 2.5-mile track through most of the morning, teams were only on the track for a single 45-minute session. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said the speeds were acceptable and he doesn't anticipate any changes to the restrictor plates, which are the same size (holes 57/64ths of an inch in diameter) as they were for the Daytona 500 in February.