Jimmie Johnson, defending NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion and a two-time winner of LVMS' UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 turned in the eighth-fastest lap of the morning (29.575 sec./182.587 mph.).  "I think this is a good move for the track. They're going to put on better racing. The other (old configuration) was a single-file-racing racetrack, so I think the changes they made have been good.  It's been fun - the track has a lot of grip. We made some good progress throughout the practice session today."

Tony Stewart, NASCAR's 2002 and 2005 Nextel Cup Series champion, was second-quickest in the first practice session (29.429 sec./183.492 mph). When asked about the new 20-degree banking in the turns, Stewart simply replied, "Perfect. I couldn't have done it better myself. It's just perfect - it's really nice. It's just so fast around the bottom."

Four-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon explained, "I like the banking. I like the configuration and the transition of it.  It's going to make it more challenging for the teams and make for better racing.  As the race (in March) goes on, the outside groove will come in more and more. If the tire wasn't hard, we'd be going a lot faster. Anytime you have a (race track with a new surface)…the pavement these days has so much grip and is so good that Goodyear can't build a tire that complements the new pavement and the cars.  They have to build a rock-hard tire and the tires will last forever.  I've run 20 laps or so and the tires look like they just came off the (Goodyear) truck."

The busy day was punctuated by five separate crashes. Although no one was injured in any of the mishaps, it certainly challenged the teams involved. "I felt something wasn't right with the car and I wasn't sure whether we should come in to pit or stay out," said Red Bull Toyota driver A.J. Allendinger.  "I decided to stay out another lap and unfortunately the right front tire blew going into Turn 2 and brushed the wall."

Also involved in crashes were Tony Raines (first to crash), Reed Sorenson, Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle.

"All the wrecks are scary," said Paul Andrews, Bobby Labonte's veteran crew chief.  "It makes you nervous about the race.  We just don't know what to think, what caused them.  Some guys have lost tires and some haven't.  We'll have to see, but it’s pretty scary."

Top 10 drivers from the morning test session (9 a.m.-Noon):
1. Scott Riggs - 29.426 sec./183.511 mph.
2. Tony Stewart - 29.429 sec./183.492 mph.
3. Kasey Kahne - 29.485 sec./183.144 mph.
4. Kevin Harvick - 29.526 sec./182.890 mph.
5. Dave Blaney - 29.547 sec./182.760 mph.
6. Jeff Burton - 29.555 sec./182.710 mph.
7. Greg Biffle - 29.571 sec./182.611 mph.
8. Jimmie Johnson - 29.575 sec./182.587 mph.
9. Elliott Sadler - 29.599 sec./182.439 mph.
10. Carl Edwards - 29.631 sec./182.242 mph.

Top 10 best laps from afternoon session (1-5 p.m.):

  • Kasey Kahne (Dodge) - 29.239 sec./184.685 mph.
  • Clint Bowyer - (Chevrolet) 29.292 sec./184.351 mph.
  • Carl Edwards (Ford) - 29.315 sec./184.206 mph.
  • J.J. Yeley – (Chevrolet) 29.359 sec./183.390 mph.
  • Ricky Rudd (Ford) – 29.370/183.681 mph.
  • Mike Skinner (Toyota) – 29.389 sec./183.742 mph.
  • Tony Stewart (Chevrolet) – 29.401 sec./183.667 mph.
  • Kurt Busch (Dodge) – 29.402 sec./183.661 mph.
  • Mike Bliss (Dodge) – 29.414 sec./183.586 mph.
  • Casey Mears (Chevrolet) – 29.416 sec./183.574 mph.