NSCS: Back on Top; Kurt Busch Paces Opening Practice Session at Auto Club

Marshall Gabell NASCAR 0 Comments

FONTANA, Calif. and CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Report by Race Chaser Online Mid-Atlantic Correspondent Marshall Gabell – Harry How/Getty Images North America photo –

It has been a solid return for Stewart-Haas Racing veteran Kurt Busch.

Following a top five finish in his season debut in the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix last weekend, Busch was quickest in practice at Auto Club Speedway this afternoon.

Busch, who was suspended the opening three races this season, turned a lap of 186.741 mph to top the speed charts at a track he has scored just one win at before (in 2003).

Joe Gibbs Racing pilot Denny Hamlin posted the second quickest time during the session (185.385). He is one of multiple drivers still hunting for their first win at the challenging 2.5-mile circuit in Fontana, California.

Martin Truex Jr., who has started the season with four consecutive top ten results, continued his hot streak after clocking in the third fastest time (185.180).

2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski and six-time champion Jimmie Johnson closed out the top five positions during the session.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, David Ragan, Jeff Gordon, and Danica Patrick rounded out the top ten spots.

Defending Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick, who is looking to continue his streak of seven consecutive top two finishes this weekend, was 12th quickest during the practice.

After being named the substitute driver for Brian Vickers (who is dealing with more blood clot issues), Brett Moffitt practiced the No. 55 Toyota in the 27th position.

Chris Buescher, who is making his Sprint Cup debut with Front Row Motorsports this weekend, posted the 29th fastest time.

After unveiling his new Subway paint scheme, Carl Edwards will have to bring out the backup car after getting into the wall during the session.

Sprint Cup Series drivers will return to the track at 7:30 p.m. eastern tonight for Knockout Qualifying that will set the lineup for Sunday’s Auto Club 400.

 

RESULTS: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice #1; Auto Club Speedway; March 20, 2015

  1. Kurt Busch
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Martin Truex Jr.
  4. Brad Keselowski
  5. Jimmie Johnson
  6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  7. Ryan Newman
  8. David Ragan
  9. Jeff Gordon
  10. Danica Patrick
  11. Carl Edwards
  12. Kevin Harvick
  13. Austin Dillon
  14. Matt Kenseth
  15. Kasey Kahne
  16. Joey Logano
  17. Jamie McMurray
  18. AJ Allmendinger
  19. Kyle Larson
  20. Alex Bowman
  21. Aric Almirola
  22. Clint Bowyer
  23. Tony Stewart
  24. Brian Scott
  25. Paul Menard
  26. Greg Biffle
  27. Brett Moffitt
  28. Justin Allgaier
  29. Chris Buescher
  30. Casey Mears
  31. Michael Annett
  32. Sam Hornish Jr.
  33. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  34. Cole Whitt
  35. Trevor Bayne
  36. Jeb Burton
  37. Josh Wise
  38. Landon Cassill
  39. Mike Bliss
  40. David Gilliland
  41. J.J. Yeley
  42. Reed Sorenson
  43. Travis Kvapil
  44. Matt DiBenedetto
  45. Brendan Gaughan

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