Biffle leads NASCAR testing in Las Vegas

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Greg Biffle led Thursday’s testing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in advance of this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400.

Biffle’s fastest lap, 189.427mph, came on his 59th of 61 laps turned Thursday around the 1.5-mile oval in the second afternoon session of the day.

Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin set identical laps of 189.142, with Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick rounding out the top five.

Denny Hamlin, who had the most newsworthy day by virtue of his being fined $25,000 for remarks made after last week’s race at Phoenix, clocked in 25th on the speed charts at 184.875mph. He was one spot ahead of last year’s Las Vegas winner, Tony Stewart.

Danica Patrick led the three-car Stewart Haas Racing contingent in 19th. She recorded her best ever finish in NASCAR, fourth in the Nationwide Series, at Las Vegas in 2011.

Qualifying is Friday with the race at 3:00 p.m. EST on Sunday.

Montoya: ‘Hopefully I get a chance to do Indy again’ (VIDEO)

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Juan Pablo Montoya is on site at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, his latest trip in a summer and fall filled with a lot of international travel and a number of different race cars he’s been in.

Montoya is committed to a full season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Acura Team Penske in 2018, as he’ll share one of the team’s Acura ARX-05s with Dane Cameron.

However, the question of whether he’ll be able to race in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil remains.

Team Penske has said it plans to only run four cars next month of May, with Helio Castroneves as the fourth driver alongside the three full-time cars driven by Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power.

While Montoya has said elsewhere that he’s shopping offers and has talked with other teams, it’d be highly surprising to see the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion who developed the Chevrolet engine for IndyCar’s 2018 Dallara universal body kit in a Honda-powered IndyCar, although he is running Honda’s brand (Acura) in sports cars.

Montoya elaborated on his Indy 500 prospects in an interview with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton at the Circuit of The Americas.

“Not full-time no,” Montoya told NBCSN of his IndyCar 2018 prospects. “Hopefully I get a chance to go to Indy, hopefully with Penske, (and) if not someone else. We’ll see.”

Photo: IndyCar

Montoya has extolled the early testing both on the 2018 IndyCar and on the Acura ARX-05.

The first Acura chassis has run at Road Atlanta and Sebring International Raceway thus far, and will be put through its paces at other venues over the next few months.

“It’s been good. We did a lot of work with INDYCAR on that car. Fans are gonna like it,” Montoya said of the 2018 kit.

“Going to IMSA with the Acura program, we’ve done a lot of testing. It’s a beauty to drive. It drives better than what it looks! I haven’t had that much fun driving a race car in a long time.”

Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype international (DPi) race car to be campaigned by Team Penske in 2018