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Jay Hart

At the Track: Auto Club Speedway

From The Marbles

One week is down, and now the tour heads west to suburban Los Angeles for Sunday's Auto Club 500. Here's the news as it happens from Auto Club Speedway:

10 a.m. PT: Greg Biffle said he was blindsided by the crew chief change on Matt Kenseth's No. 17. He said didn't know it was coming until he was told of the move, which came on Wednesday. He said reassigning Todd Parrott to Kenseth's pit box will help Kenseth's performance, but will hurt his own, citing Parrott's value as a member of Roush Fenway's research and development team.

10:20: Kevin Harvick says he doesn't want to see Daytona International Speedway repaved. He hopes that if a patch will fix the pothole problem then that would be the measure he'd like to see the track take. He's adamant that most drivers don't want to see the track completely repaved.

10:30: Jeff Burton doesn't want to see Daytona re-paved, either. He says the track needs to be smoothed out, but completely repaving it would strip the track of its grip and change the racing there.

"[Repaving] would be good for jobs," Burton acknowledged. "Maybe we can get some stimulus money for that."

Burton also said there will be two seasons in 2010: the first one with the wing, the second with the spoiler, which will be introduced next month.

11:15: Todd Parrott's spot as Matt Kenseth's new crew chief is on an "interim" basis, according to team owner Jack Roush.

Kenseth took responsibility for the odd timing of the change - Drew Blickensderfer was replaced by Parrot on Wednesday - saying that at Daytona he just didn't feel like there was any energy within the team.

"We just didn't feel fired up to go win races," Kenseth explained. "We just needed to get everybody back to what this is about."

Also of note, Kenseth's former crew chief Robbie Reiser will be on Kenseth's pit box this weekend, along with Parrott.

11:30: Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he got more texts and phone calls after his last-lap dash at Daytona than after he won the Daytona 500. He also said one reason he's been subdued about his second-place finish is because he's seen a lot of drivers "with questionable talent" do well there.

Noon: First Cup practice is underway.

12:02: Quick Danica Patrick update - she was not very fast in the first Nationwide practice. She finished 37th on the speed chart - eight miles an hour slower than Brian Vickers.

12:15: Mark Martin leads the way 15 minutes into the first practice session and only practice for qualifying later this afternoon.

1:35: Mark Martin finished atop the charts in the first Cup practice (182.927 mph). He was followed by Ryan Newman (182.449) and Juan Pablo Montoya (182.320). Rounding out the top 10 were Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer, Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch and Joey Logano.

Other notables include Jeff Gordon (13th), Denny Hamlin (15th), Carl Edwards (16th), Kyle Busch (17th), Tony Stewart (22nd) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (25th).

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