The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams get back at it today at the Texas Motor Speedway with the final practice session and qualifying for the Samsung Mobile 500.
Because of a scheduling conflict with Barrett-Jackson (read: SPEED preferring to show millionaires buying collector cars in Palm Beach at 3 p.m. rather than showing Sprint Cup cars on the track), practice will not be televised. Qualifying, though, will be on SPEED beginning at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.
Yesterday's first practice went well for Georgia's own David Ragan, as his UPS-sponsored No. 6 Ford topped the speed charts. Ragan likewise was quickest in one of the practice sessions last week at Martinsville and has consistently been fast during race weekends this year.
The top-five on board was rounded out by Tony Stewart, Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing teammates Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray, and Ragan's Roush-Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle.
There are 44 teams in Texas, as has been the case for much of the young 2011 season. The one notable difference is that the K-Automotive Dodge, which has suffered one misfortune after another since qualifying for the Daytona 500 in February, is not on the entry list. Taking its place is the new No. 95 Leavine-Fenton Racing Ford, owned by Tyler, Texas natives Bob Leavine and Lance Fenton and driven by fellow Texan David Starr. Starr, a veteran of NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series, is trying to make his Sprint Cup debut after several previous failed attempts.
Back in go-or-go-home land after one week amongst the top-35 in points is the No. 13 Germain Racing Toyota of Casey Mears. He finished 36th at Martinsville and was displaced by the No. 37 Ford of Tony Raines.
Another change among teams not locked into the field features Kevin Buckler's No. 71 machine, which is now a Ford Fusion after more than two seasons as a Chevrolet Impala. Rookie Andy Lally is back in the car after Hermie Sadler's one-off run with the team at Martinsville.
The qualifying order will be determined this afternoon after final practice, with cars taking their turns in order from the slowest to fastest practice times across both sessions.