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Carl Edwards tops Friday PM practice at Vegas

Mar 7, 2014, 3:47 PM EDT

The Profit on CNBC 500 - Practice Getty Images

In yesterday’s test session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Roush Fenway Racing drivers were 27th, 29th, and 34th on the time charts.

That made the slowest of those three, Greg Biffle, a little pessimistic about his team’s chances this weekend on the 1.5-mile Vegas oval. But he also noted the difficulties of finding the Gen-6 car’s sweet spot.

“These cars are really, really finicky,” he said yesterday. “We know that, so that speed could just come up somewhere and that’s what we’re hoping for.”

And what do you know – it did. At least for this afternoon’s Sprint Cup practice session, in which all three Roush Fenway drivers cracked the Top 10 in speeds.

Carl Edwards (27th-fastest yesterday) topped the session with a lap of 191.980 miles per hour in his No. 99 Ford Fusion, ahead of Team Penske’s Joey Logano (191.320 mph) and defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson (191.137).

RFR’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (29th-fastest yesterday) was fourth-fastest at 190.873 mph, and Biffle himself was 10th-fastest (189.887 mph).

So perhaps the RFR camp indeed will have something for the field in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 at LVMS, a track where they’ve won seven times (tops among all teams). That said, the team is coming off a down year on the intermediate tracks such as Vegas, which have traditionally been RFR’s strongest suit.

Other notables on this afternoon’s time sheets included defending Las Vegas race champion Matt Kenseth in 8th (189.947 mph), Danica Patrick in 13th (189.760 mph), current Sprint Cup points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 19th (189.076 mph), and last week’s winner Kevin Harvick in 20th (189.056).

The first three-round run of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying format will begin later today at 6:40 p.m. ET.