KYLE BUSCH FASTEST IN HAPPY HOUR – NASCAR Sprint Cup Happy Hour ended with Kyle Busch atop the scoring pylon, turning the fastest lap of the session at 188.383 mph. Busch ran 32 laps in the final one-hour practice session before Saturday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Just behind him on the speed chart was Regan Smith, who is filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. this weekend in the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet. Smith turned 43 laps, including a fast lap of 188.009 mph, as he tries to adjust to his temporary new ride.

KYLE BUSCH (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota) – “It’s nice to have the fastest lap, but it doesn’t really mean much. What we are really looking at are lap averages. But it’s a good car. We have a few things to work on tonight, but we should be good tomorrow.”

REGAN SMITH (No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet ) – “It’s getting better. It’s just learning all the characteristics of this race car and what it’s capable of, how much I can lean on it, different things it can do in the corner. As much as anything, I’m just getting more and more comfortable in my surroundings in the car. Everything from the dashboard to the seat to where you’re positioned in the car is different for me this weekend than what I’ve been accustomed to for four years, so it’s getting better. Obviously I think every time I get on the race track it’s going to continue to get better. And tomorrow’s a whole new ball game, you know. We’re gonna put 43 cars out there and we’re gonna start deeper in the pack than we want to. Starting 26th is gonna be a big issue there, as we all know, so we’re gonna have to work hard to get track position, and once we get it keep it somehow. (Must be fe eling pretty comfortable, you’re second on the board.) Yeah, you know, I felt better after the first round of practice actually, the first round, the car was just really glued to the race track, really solid. I feel like we might have lost touch with the track a little bit as practice went on and got a little too tight at the end there, so we’re gonna work on that overnight. I think the important thing is we got good ideas, and the way we’ve been sitting down and communicating, it’s been going real smooth, and we’ll come up with a good game plan for tomorrow. (Have you talked to Dale Jr.?) I did talk to him last night. At the time, I was pretty bummed out about the qualifying lap, and he said don’t worry about it, you’re in a race car that can pass a lot of cars; you’ll be fine. And that’s the main thing that he said. He’s got a lot of experience, he’s been on this team for a long time, so I’ll talk to him tonight and go from there. ( Is he coaching you?) As much as he can. It’s tough for a race car driver to not be at the race track in his car, and that’s something most of us can’t imagine. And you’ve got to admire what he did – knowing that he wasn’t feeling well and taking himself out for the next two weeks. I know it’s a tough situation. (It’s been 10 years since Jamie McMurray won as a substitute for Sterling Marlin. Has that crossed your mind at all?) Nah, no. My only thought right now is getting this race car handling as good as we can and as fast as we can, and if we do that, then we’ll have a shot at that. But we need to worry about that first.”