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Johnson keeps up speed in Kentucky Cup practice

NASCAR.com

First practice results " Follow qualifying

Jimmie Johnson was the only driver to break 181 mph at Kentucky Speedway in the final practice for the Quaker State 400. His lap of 181.093 mph in 29.819 seconds in his No. 48 Chevrolet earned him the top spot on the leaderboard after running second in the earlier session.

Carl Edwards, the lone Ford in the top five, took second with a 29.936-second lap at 180.385 mph. Kyle Busch took the third spot at 180.379 mph, with Jeff Gordon clocking the final speed in the 180s, running 180.21 mph, for fourth.

Jeff Burton took the last spot in the top five with a lap of 30.008 seconds, barely edging out Dale Earnhardt Jr. at 30.009 seconds.

Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon, Marcos Ambrose and Kurt Busch completed the top 10.

Defending race winner Brad Keselowski, who came in second in last night's Truck Series race, finished 17th. Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Danica Patrick finished 15th and 27th, respectively.

Martin Truex Jr., who took the checkered flag last weekend at Sonoma, ended practice in 24th. Despite running the most laps with 45, Kevin Harvick came in 23rd on the leaderboard. Harvick was fastest in the earlier practice.

Coors Light Pole qualifying will begin at 5:10 p.m. ET on SPEED. The Quaker State 400 will air at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

Early practice results:

SPARTA, Ky. -- Richard Childress Racing driver Kevin Harvick led Friday's opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, topping the chart with a lap of 178.784 mph at the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway.

The Quaker State 400, stop No. 17 for the series, is scheduled for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

Jimmie Johnson
, last season's pole winner at Kentucky and the Cup series points leader, was second on the speed chart at 177.690 mph.

Defending series champion and Kentucky race winner Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top five.

Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers, Juan Pablo Montoya, Paul Menard and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were sixth through 10th, respectively.

READ MORE:

READ: Kentucky Paint
Scheme Preview

READ: Power Rankings
Week 16

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READ: Complete coverage
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