Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, was fastest in the morning test session on the first day of NASCAR Preseason Thunder Las Vegas at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Hamlin, driving car No. 11A, paced the field at 30.292 sec./178.265 mph.  Clint Bowyer was second at 30.293 sec./178.259 mph and Matt Kenseth was third at 30.311 sec./178.153 mph.

"Our Toyota was really good," Hamlin said. "It just took a little while to kind of get going there. So far, (I've) been pretty impressed with both everything from our side and NASCAR's side, putting these cars on the race track.

"We've basically got the same body as what we had last year.  All we're dealing with is different horsepower.  Really, there's going to be no transition for us (from Chevrolet in 2007 to Toyota in 2008). The way it's looking, we're going to be more competitive than we were last year.

"I think our speeds were getting a little bit too high with the old cars. These (so-called Car of Tomorrow, which now will be in use at all tracks and all races this year) obviously have slowed down a little bit over that.  I'm pretty pleased with everything that NASCAR has decided to do as far as safety and performance with these cars."

Hamlin was also asked about the tires the teams are using in the Las Vegas test session.

"Once again, huge strides," Hamlin explained. "It seems like it's really gotten a lot better. Last year I remember when we came here you couldn't even hardly run two laps without getting in a wreck. The tires were so hard, the (track) surface was new, the speeds were up. It really made it out of control. With these cars being a little bit slower, I think the tire compound might be a little bit softer and the track has aged. That's really been the biggest benefit so far. I think it's going to be a lot better racing than what you saw here the first time after the track got paved."

Jeff Gordon was fourth Dale Earnhardt Jr. was eighth-fastest.  Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson was 15th.

The morning session was abbreviated by showers, which wet the track at 11:30 a.m. They subsided and the track was dried, but the wind, which was forecasted for the day, was persistent.

As of 2 p.m., there were only three on-track incidents. Regan Smith brushed the wall, Dario Franchitti crashed in Turn 3 and Jacques Villeneuve spun.

NASCAR Sprint Cup testing for today will conclude at 5 p.m. and will resume Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. PST.