Kurt Busch Fastest In Auto Club 400 First Practice

Kurt Busch Fastest In Auto Club 400 First Practice

by March 20, 2015 0 comments

Photo Credit: Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images

By: Hunter Thomas
Twitter: @HunterThomas08

FONTANA, Calif. – The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams hit the banks of Auto Club Speedway on Friday afternoon for opening practice to kick off the last stop on NASCAR’s West Coast swing.

Coming off a fifth place finish at Phoenix International Raceway, Kurt Busch topped the speed chart with a lap of 38.556 seconds at 186.741 mph. Denny Hamlin who missed last year’s Auto Club 400 due to a piece of metal in his eye, clocked the second fastest lap on Friday. Martin Truex Jr. was third, followed by Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson.

Early in practice, Greg Biffle slapped the wall coming out of Turn 4. He finished out the session in 26th. Another driver who found the wall was Joe Gibbs Racing’s Carl Edwards. He lost control exiting Turn 4 and nailed the frontstretch wall. Edwards will go to a backup car before today’s Coors Light Pole Qualifying. He was 11th fastest during the opening practice session.

“We went from a 12-inch to a six-inch sub pretty quick,” Edwards said. “I tried to save it – I got a little bit loose off – and I tried to save it and that was a mistake. I had a ton of throttle and the lap was going really well coming off Turn Four. It got a little bit loose and I was like, ‘Man, I’m not going to hit the fence,’ and I thought, ‘I should lock it down.’ Right there I was thinking ‘Lock it down,’ and I thought, ‘Nah, I’ll save it,’ and that was not the right decision. Anyway, the guys – I don’t know if we can use this engine and keep our qualifying spot or what. The guys have a lot of work in front of them. I hate to do that. I think we were having a pretty good lap there.”

Brett Moffit is replacing Brian Vickers this weekend in Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 55 Toyota Camry. Vickers is battling blood clots and has been placed on a blood thinner. Moffitt finished out the session in 27th. Making his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut, Chris Buescher ran the 29th fastest lap. Buescher is replacing Moffitt this weekend in Front Row Motorsports’ No. 34 Ford Fusion.

Coors Light Pole Qualifying will air live on FOX Sports 1 tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Auto Club 400 First Practice Top-10 Results:
1.) #41 Kurt Busch | Haas Automation | Chevrolet | 38.556 seconds | 186.741 mph
2.) #11 Denny Hamlin | Sport Clips | Toyota | 38.838 seconds | 185.385 mph
3.) #78 Martin Truex Jr. | Furniture Row/Visser Precision | Chevrolet | 38.881 seconds | 185.180 mph
4.) #2 Brad Keselowski | Wurth | Ford | 38.915 seconds | 185.019 mph
5.) #48 Jimmie Johnson | Lowe’s Pro Services | Chevrolet | 38.919 seconds | 185.000 mph
6.) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. | Nationwide | Chevrolet | 38.946 seconds | 184.871 mph
7.) #31 Ryan Newman | Caterpillar | Chevrolet | 38.968 seconds 184.767 mph
8.) #18 David Ragan | Interstate Batteries | Toyota | 39.050 seconds | 184.379 mph
9.) #24 Jeff Gordon | Axalta | Chevrolet | 39.0711 seconds | 84.280 mph
10.) #10 Danica Patrick | Aspen Dental | Chevrolet | 39.118 seconds | 184.058 mph

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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