Friday, April 4, 2014

Johnson fastest in first Texas practice session

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Jimmie Johnson was fastest in Friday’s two hour practice session at Texas Motor Speedway, laying down his fast lap at 193.237 mph on the first of his 35 laps run. Johnson, a three-time winner a Texas, is the 5-to-1 favorite to win Sunday’s Duck Commander 500. He is using the same chassis this week that he used to win at Texas last fall which appears to be a scary set of circumstances for the rest of the field as Johnson is still winless on the season..

Greg Biffle came in with the second fastest lap (192.055) almost at the same juncture Johnson posted his top speed. Ryan Newman was third fastest -- doing so in the late stages, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr and Brian Vickers to round out the top-5.

Biffle’s speed has to be encouraging for the No. 16 Roush Fenway team just because they were very ordinary at Las Vegas last month finishing 22nd. Texas and Las Vegas are similar 1.5-mile sister tracks, but Texas is much faster. And apparently, so is Biffle. A Roush Fenway Ford has won nine times at Texas, including two by Biffle.

A total of 47 drivers participated in the practice session with Joey Logano running the most laps (55). Ten drivers ran at least 10 consecutive laps with Earnhardt Jr. having the fastest average.

Two drivers, David Ragan and Kurt Busch, had some trouble during the session and will have to go to back-up cars. Busch had the seventh fastest lap of the session, but blew out a left rear tire late and slapped the wall.

The drivers will return to the track for the second and final practice session Saturday at 10:30 am (ET), which will run for 90 minutes and then qualifying will take place at 3:10 pm. It is quite the odd schedule of events, but not a bad change of pace.  

Practice 1 Speeds  

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