After a week that saw the fallout from last Saturday night's controversial race ending in Richmond dominate the headlines, it was back to business as usual on Saturday for the stars of the Sprint Cup Series.
The drivers have been on track at Chicagoland Speedway for two separate practice sessions in preparation for Sunday's GEICO 400.
Martin Truex Jr., one of the drivers at the center of last weekend's controversy, paced the morning session, while Kasey Kahne topped the charts during Happy Hour.
According to the statistics obtained by ESPN-owned Jayski.com, Truex's fast lap of 182.383 mph during the first practice was good enough to narrowly edge Jeff Gordon's top lap by less than a one-hundredth of a second. Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Juan Pablo Montoya rounded the top five during the morning session.
Kahne's chart-topping lap during Saturday's second round of practice ran at 181.068 mph, according to Jayski.com. Montoya, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle made up that session's top-five fastest drivers.
Happy Hour was the last time the cars will see the track before Sunday's race.
Less than four-tenths of a second separated the 13 drivers eligible for this year's championship during the final practice. Kevin Harvick was the slowest of the group, turning in a lap of 179.009 mph, which was good enough for 24th on the speed chart.
Defending race winner and series champion Brad Keselowski was the 15th-fastest driver during the afternoon practice.
Forty-one of the 43 drivers set to start Sunday's race made laps during the final practice. Joe Nemechek and Michael McDowell elected not to take advantage of the track time.
The GEICO 400 will mark the first race of the 2013 Chase for the Championship. The green flag will wave at approximately 2:16 p.m. ET. Television coverage is on ESPN.
Weather could be an issue for the race. Sunday's forecast for the Chicago area is calling for a 70 percent chance of rain.
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