Friday, July 22, 2016

Jimmie Johnson Blistering Fast in First Brickyard Practice

Defending winner Kyle Busch shows off his ring Friday at the media center.
Jimmie Johnson laid down a blistering fast lap during Friday's first practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday's Brickyard 400. Johnson's quick lap at 184.185 mph came on the first of his 17 laps run during the 85-minute session. The next fastest lap was Denny Hamlin at 184.563 mph and then speeds really dropped off to third with Casey Mears at 180.346 mph.

Johnson is a four-time winner at the Brickyard and was fastest during a two-day test session there last week. 2003 Brickyard winner Kevin Harvick was fourth fastest (179.784) followed by 2013 winner Ryan Newman (179.784) to round out the top-five.

Of the 41 drivers that turned a lap, 19 of them had their fastest lap on their first run. No driver ran 10-consecutive laps and Carl Edwards, who was sixth fastest (179.741), ran the most laps (30).

Only two practices will be run before Saturday's qualifying, so it's a good assumption that several teams were using qualifying trim on their best lap.

Five-time Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon was ninth fastest (179.376) in the No. 88 driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr. who is expected to miss next weeks race at Pocono Raceway as well.

Last years winner Kyle Busch spun out during the session, but didn't hit anything. He had the 12th fastest lap (179.154).

Chevrolet has won 16 of the 22 Brickyard races and they posted seven of the nine fastest speeds. Toyota won at the Brickyard for the first time ever with Busch last year and the five Joe Gibbs Racing equipped cars all finished within the top-13.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the session was Kurt Busch having only the 24th fastest lap (177.577) just because he won at Pocono in early June, a track that is most similar to Indy.

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