Truex Jr., Edwards lead Friday practice at Watkins Glen

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A road course sweep in 2013 would be very helpful for Martin Truex Jr.’s chances of making the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Truex (pictured), currently in 14th in the Sprint Cup standings, is currently in one of the two Wild Card spots thanks to his win earlier this year at Sonoma Raceway in California. Another road course triumph this weekend at Watkins Glen International may be enough to put the New Jersey native into the post-season, and he started off strong on Friday by leading the first of two practice sessions at the Glen with a time of 69.319 seconds around the venerable circuit.

“Obviously, with what we did at Sonoma – road courses generally are ones that I always look forward to and generally, I’ve always felt better coming here than I did at Sonoma – [I’m] definitely excited and optimistic about the weekend and what we can do and [I] love racing up here,” said Truex on Friday at WGI.

“It’s a lot of fun. This race track is really unique – totally different than Sonoma – but a lot of fun to drive on and a lot of fun to race on and looking forward to having a great weekend up here.”

Carl Edwards could also have a say in the outcome if his own times on Friday are an indication. After going third-quickest in Practice 1, he then topped Practice 2 with a time of 68.693 seconds that would’ve been enough to break yet another track record.

Also enjoying a strong pace on Friday was Juan Pablo Montoya, who’s always a threat whenever the Sprint Cup circus hits a road course. The ex-Formula One standout was fourth in Practice 1 behind Truex, defending race winner Marcos Ambrose, and Edwards, then was fourth again in Practice 2 behind Edwards, Michael McDowell, and Clint Bowyer.

As for former Champ Car and current GRAND-AM pilot Max Papis, who has taken over the injured Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet this weekend, he was 27th-quickest in Practice 1 and 30th-quickest in Practice 2.

Qualifying for Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at the Glen is scheduled to go off tomorrow morning at 11:40 a.m. ET.