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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Erik Jones Tops Opening Practice at Watkins Glen

The road course veterans came to play in Saturday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series opening practice at Watkins Glen International, but it was Erik Jones who posted a lap as time expired to grab the top spot.

Jones, who comes into WGI with two consecutive top-10 finishes on road courses, ran a speed of 125.165 mph, more than a half-second ahead of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch (124.255 mph). Until the waning minute of practice, the No. 18 sat atop the scoring pylon throughout the session.

Joey Logano, 2015 winner at WGI, finished third in the practice (124.654 mph), while Clint Bowyer (123.545 mph) and defending winner Martin Truex Jr. (123.434 mph) rounded out the top five.

Daniel Suarez, Denny Hamlin, Jamie McMurray, Michael McDowell and AJ Allmendinger filled the top 10.

Ryan Newman, who posted the 13th fastest one-lap speed, brought out the red flag late in the practice, as the No. 31 slid into the wall through the esses. The No. 31 Richard Childress Racing team isn’t planning on going to a backup car.

Jimmie Johnson, mired down in 17th on the leaderboard, turned 25 laps, the most in the session.

Final practice for Sunday’s GoBowling at the Glen will begin at 1 p.m. ET, as qualifying will begin at 6:30 p.m ET.

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