The first practice session of the weekend in the Irish Hills of Michigan went to someone who could use the luck of the Irish.
Martin Truex, Jr., led the way in opening Sprint Cup Series practice for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway, with a time of 35.724 seconds.
Following Truex in the top five were Jimmie Johnson (35.797), Joey Logano (35.827), Ryan Blaney (35.861) and Kyle Larson (35.869). Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards rounded out the top 10.
The 85-minute session served as the first track time for the series as it returns to the lower-low downforce package used earlier this season in the first Michigan race and at Kentucky Speedway. It also offered the field their first look at the two-mile oval since it had rubber added to the racing surface by Kentucky’s tire monster machine.
Despite the many variable, the field was slowed only twice during the session. The first caution came just past the 30-minute mark, as a spring rubber in turn 3 required a pickup. The second stoppage came in the closing moments, as rookie Jeffrey Earnhardt made contact with the outside wall.
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Earnhardt’s Go FAS Racing team will revert to their backup machine as a result of the incident.
The Sprint Cup Series will return at 5:15 p.m. ET for Coors Light Pole Qualifying.