TALLADEGA, AL (WIAT) – It wasn’t a washout on Friday at Talladega. Carl Edwards was the fastest in the afternoon Sprint Cup practice session with a blistering fast lap of 199.675 mph. Denny Hamlin, who has missed the last four races with a back injury, returned to the track for the first time since March 24th. Hamlin showed his excitement when speaking with the media after his practice session
“Last night it was tough to sleep knowing that I was going to get back in the car for the first time,” Hamlin said. “This is an exciting time. If it wasn’t for my crew chief (Darian Grubb), I would have stayed out there until I ran out of gas. I’m excited about this weekend and finally getting back going again.”
Eight drivers topped 199 mph & 17 were faster than 198 mph, including Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski & fan-favorite Dale Earnhardt. Qualifying for Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 begins Saturday at 11:10 pm CST.
On the Nationwide side, former extreme sports star Travis Pastrana took the pole position for Saturday’s Aaron’s 312. His fast lap of 176.500 mph earned him his first pole, in his first trip to Talladega.
“It’s like a dream come true,” Pastrana said with a wide smile. “Bringing the guys to the line at the green flag at Talladega is awesome. I’m definitely excited. It’s a huge accomplishment to be able to just start here at Talladega. To lead them to the green, I’m pretty excited about that as an accomplishment. As far as being something to check off the list, this is really, really high on that list.”
Nationwide Series points leader Sam Hornish Jr. will start sixth (175.771), Elliott Sadler seventh (175.732), Brian Scott eighth (175.587), 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch ninth (175.520) and Joey Coulter 10th (175.330).
The Aaron’s 312 is scheduled to start at 2 pm CST on Saturday.
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Lauren Sisler wraps up Friday at Talladega