In the first of two 50 minute practice sessions for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kurt Busch ended the session at the top of the scoreboard. His very first lap of session was 28.031 seconds (192.644 mph), over a tenth of a second faster than anyof the other 42 Sprint Cup drivers.
Polesitter Matt Kenseth, the 2000 Coca-Cola 600 winner, was second fastest with a time of 28.172 seconds. Defending Coca-Cola 600 winner Jimmie Johnson was impressive in practice, posting the third fastest single lap time of 28.300 seconds, the second fastest five consecutive lap average, and the fastest ten consecutive lap average. Jeff Gordon, who was eighth in practice, had the fastest five-lap average.
The only incident in practice came with less than ten minutes remaining when David Ragan spun coming out of turn 4. He and the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing team finished the session fourth quickest and will start Sunday’s 600 mile race in the top 10. Brad Keselowski completed the fast five with a time of 28.347 seconds.
Kyle Busch, making his first Sprint Cup points race start of the season, ended the session in sixth place and ran 42 laps. Jamie McMurray, Gordon and Kasey Kahne were seventh, eighth and ninth in practice respectively. Joey Logano was tenth fastest in practice.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ran the most laps in practice (49) and was eleventh fastest with a speed of 190.047 mph (28.414 seconds). Sprint All Star Race winner Denny Hamlin was thirteenth fastest in practice with a fast time of 28.422 seconds. Carl Edwards and two time Coca-Cola 600 winner Kevin Harvick did not have fast single lap speeds, posting the 27th and 30th fastest times respectively. However, both drivers were running laps that were challenging the top teams near the end of practice. Harvick and Johnson look to continue their 1.5 mile dominance this weekend. The two drivers have combined to win the last seven Sprint Cup points events on 1.5 mile racetracks.
Final practice for Sprint Cup teams will take place at 1 p.m. EDT on FOX Sports 1.