Jimmie Johnson atop final practice at Texas – Nascar
Jimmie Johnson claimed the top spot in final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.
Johnson, a six-time Texas winner, drove the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet to a best lap of 194.812 mph on the 1.5-mile track. The seven-time series champ is scheduled to start 24th in Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 (1:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM) after a spin in the first round of Friday’s Coors Light Pole Qualifying.
Chase Elliott, his teammate in the Hendrick No. 24 Chevrolet, was second fastest at 194.252 mph. Series points leader Kyle Larson posted the third-best speed (193.618 mph) in the Chip Ganassi No. 42 entry, completing a 1-2-3 leaderboard sweep by Chevrolets.
Richard Petty Motorsports’ Aric Almirola was fourth-best (193.555 mph) in the fastest Ford. Matt Kenseth (193.465 mph) completed the top five in the fastest Toyota, the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20.
The session was marked by a pair of incidents on the repaved and reconfigured circuit. Trevor Bayne’s Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford crunched the Turns 1 and 2 wall with heavy damage at the four-minute mark, leaving his team to trot out its backup car. Bayne had just risen to the top of the leaderboard before his wreck.
RELATED: See Bayne’s practice wreck
“I wrecked the fastest race car I have ever had,” said Bayne, who was uninjured. “I got loose into one and touched the gray there and if you get out of the groove by a centimeter it is gone. It is unfortunate. I know that, I just stepped over the edge.”
Kasey Kahne also clouted the outside retaining wall in Turn 2 near the end of the 50-minute tuning session. His Hendrick Motorsports team unloaded a backup No. 5 Chevrolet ahead of Sunday’s 500-miler.
Keselowski carries speed in early Saturday practice
Brad Keselowski aced second practice Saturday morning at Texas Motor Speedway, topping the speed charts at 196.143 mph in the No. 2 Team Penske Ford.
Next up was the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet of Kyle Larson, posting a fastest lap of 196.093 mph.
Ty Dillon in the No. 13 Germain Racing Chevrolet (196.043 mph), Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (195.943 mph) and Chase Elliott in the No. 24 HMS Chevrolet (195.837 mph) completed the top five.
RELATED: Blaney fastest in Friday’s practice
Polesitter Kevin Harvick was 19th fastest during the 55-minute session (194.112 mph).
Larson and Kasey Kahne served 15-minute penalties for failing inspections; Gray Gaulding and Derrike Cope served 15-minute penalties for being late to inspections.
Several cars hit the wall in Friday’s first practice, including Kyle Busch, Elliott and Erik Jones. Saturday morning’s practice was free of incidents.
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