NASCAR Weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will begin on Thursday with a Sprint Cup Series practice session for the new Gen 6 cars. Practice will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and is free to the public.

A number of drivers shared their thoughts on testing and racing in the new NASCAR Gen 6 cars at LVMS this weekend.

“I think the cars are obviously really fast because they have more down force,” said Richard Childress Racing driver Kevin Harvick. “Everyone's anticipation of getting to Las Vegas and getting all of the cars on the race track at the same time is pretty high, just for the fact that no one can tell you exactly what's going on. You really don't know what will happen until you get into 100 percent race conditions. The test on Thursday, and the race, will at least give us a direction of where we need to go after the weekend so we can work on things. It's going to be interesting and we'll see very fast, high speeds.”

“Las Vegas is one place that this FedEx team has run pretty well at over the years, but has never really gotten the results we deserve,” said Denny Hamlin. “It’s a fast track with quite a bit of banking, and it’s hard to get your car just right. It will be the first race for these new cars on an intermediate track, so it’ll be interesting to see how they react when you get around another car. It’ll give us a chance to see how we stack up against some of the other teams early in the season, knowing there are a lot of mile-and-a-half tracks on our schedule. Hopefully we’ll be able to qualify near the front and be there at the end.”

“I’m jacked up about heading to Vegas,” said Ford driver Greg Biffle. “One, I love to gamble, and two, I love that race track.  We run really well there.  We’ve got the American Red Cross on the car this weekend and I just can’t wait to get there.  It takes a lot of things to win at Vegas.  Track position is key and you need to have the right pit stop at the end.  We’ve been really close to winning in the Cup car before and hopefully this is it.”

“We learned a lot at the Charlotte test in January that will help us out in Vegas with this new 2013 Gen 6 Ford,” said Biffle’s crew chief, Matt Puccia. “The 1.5-mile tracks have been our strong suit in the past and we are hoping to capitalize on that in 2013.  Last season we finished third at Vegas and took over the points lead, we are looking to pick up where we left off last season.”

“We’ve had some success in Las Vegas winning the very first race in 1998,” said Toyota driver Mark Martin. “Sure, we can do that again. We led 75 laps Sunday (at Phoenix) so we know we’re capable of running well. We’ll just need to put the whole race together. But we can do that. These guys give me good cars each weekend. We’ll see what we can learn Thursday during the test and hopefully have something for them on Sunday. With this new Gen-6 car, the window of opportunity is open for all these teams to find something and have a big advantage over the rest of the field for several weeks.”

"Vegas has always been a good track for us,” said Australia’s Marcos Ambrose, who drives for Richard Petty Motorsports. “We did well at the Charlotte test in the offseason, so I look forward to seeing our speed at a mile-and-a-half track this weekend. I'm sure everyone has improved as well, but I think we can still be the leaders. Our guys are working hard, and we have a lot of smart guys preparing our Ford Fusions. We're still learning the new cars, but I don't think we're behind. In fact, we may be ahead of some.”

Kyle Busch is a native of Las Vegas and also the winner of the 2009 Kobalt Tools 400.

“I think I’m expecting that we really don’t know what to expect,” said Busch. “How the car raced at Phoenix will be much different when we get to Vegas. We’ll try to use the Thursday test day, and the rest of the practices, as best we can and learn as much as we can about this new car. So far, they drive good. They put more downforce to them. We haven’t really gotten into a pack yet with the mile-and-a-half stuff to see how they lead and follow. We’ve always qualified well at Vegas, and I’m hoping we can keep that going and have some good track position to start the race with our M&M’s Camry.”

Biffle and Martin, along with Carl Edwards and Casey Mears, will participate in a question-and-answer session in the Neon Garage at 3:45 p.m. Thursday. The public is invited.

Tickets for NASCAR Weekend are on sale at or by calling (800) 644-4444. Neon Garage passes, Lucky 7 preferred parking and driver introduction passes also are available.

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