Kevin Harvick, looking for his first win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway since the opening race of the Chase in 2006, showed how fast his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was, putting himself fastest on the leaderboard in the opening practice on Saturday. Harvick’s time of 28.834 seconds (132.094 mph) was the fastest in the 50-minute session, and his 10-consecutive lap average speed of 130.800 mph was fifth fastest overall.
Three-time New Hampshire winner Jimmie Johnson, in familiar fashion, was right next to Harvick on the leaderboard, posting a time of 28.860 seconds (131.975 mph), which put him second fastest on the speed charts. Johnson will look to rebound this weekend after a mediocre showing at Kentucky. He has seven top 10s in his last 10 starts at the 1-mile flat track, including a win in the summer of 2010.
Sunday’s polesitter Carl Edwards had the third fastest single-lap speed (28.879 seconds, 131.888 mph) and the fastest 10-consecutive lap average. The Busch brothers, who have combined to win four races in Loudon, were fourth and fifth in practice. Kyle Busch, with a time of 28.887 seconds (131.852 mph), bested his older brother Kurt, who ran a fast time of 28.895 seconds (131.815 mph).
Matt Kenseth, the 2013 fall winner at New Hampshire, was sixth fastest in the session. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates teammates Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson were seventh and eighth in the session. In the two New Hampshire races last year, Larson finished third and second. Ryan Blaney, who had the second fastest 10-consecutive lap average, and Ryan Newman completed the top 10.
The only incident to take place during the practice surprisingly happened in the garage area. While attempting to back out of his garage stall, Jeff Gordon, who was 21st fastest in the session, backed into the front end of Clint Bowyer‘s Toyota, damaging both cars. Neither team went to a backup car, but Gordon’s team spent the rest of the first session repairing the damage.