After a solid run in his return to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, Kurt Busch has carried momentum into Fontana. Leading the way in the first practice of the weekend, the No. 41 car set the pace early in the session at 38.556 seconds.
Busch’s pace was nearly three tenths of a second faster than Denny Hamlin‘s fastest lap in second place. Hamlin hasn’t raced at the track since 2013 after having metal in his eye prior to last year’s 400-mile spectacle at the track.
Seven cars were within the 38-second bracket during practice, with 25 cars within one second of Busch’s time.
Within the first 10 minutes of practice, Greg Biffle‘s No. 16 car pancaked the wall coming off turn 4. Though he didn’t have any major damage, he had to wait in the garage for an extended period of time while his team fixed the cosmetic issues on the right side of his car.
Carl Edwards will have to go to a backup car for Joe Gibbs Racing this weekend. Edwards wrecked and destroyed the right front of his car while making a qualifying run late in practice. He has an average finish of 22.5 entering the Auto Club 400.
Brett Moffitt, filling in for Brian Vickers in the No. 55 car, was 27th during the first session. Chris Buescher, who is making his Sprint Cup Series debut in Moffitt’s place at Front Row Motorsports, was 29th.