Johnson sweeps final Vegas Cup practices

Jimmie Johnson looks fast
Jimmie Johnson looks fast
Getty Images for NASCAR

Jimmie Johnson swept both Sprint Cup Series practices Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, pacing the weekend's final practice with a best speed of 187.637 mph.

The six-time series champion appears to have his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in prime condition for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX) as the only driver to hit 187+ mph in the last session.

Johnson was trailed by Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano (186.916 mph), Casey Mears (186.458 mph), Martin Truex Jr. (186.438 mph) and defending champion Kevin Harvick (186.342 mph).

Defending race-winner Brad Keselowski was ninth on the charts at 185.605, while Coors Light Pole Award winner Jeff Gordon was 14th at 185.306 mph.

Davig Ragan — filling in for Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Toyota — rode the wall late in the session and took significant damage on his ride side. The team indicated over radio that it will consider switching to a backup car.

Jimmie Johnson vaulted to the top of the speed charts in the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice of the day Saturday morning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Johnson, driving the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet, turned a fast lap of 191.891 mph on the 1.5-mile track in preparation for Sunday's Kobalt 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX), the third event of the season and the first leg of the three-race West Coast Swing. The six-time series champion was two mph faster than any other driver, but below the track record of 194.679 mph set by Jeff Gordon in Coors Light Pole Qualifying on Friday.

Last season's series runner-up Ryan Newman, driving the Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet, was second-fastest at 189.773 mph in the 55-minute session. The veteran was trailed by reigning champion Kevin Harvick (189.667 mph), Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano (189.620 mph) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (189.394 mph.)

Defending race winner Brad Keselowski was 13th with a speed of 188.627 mph. Coors Light Pole Award winner Jeff Gordon, second in opening practice, was 14th at 188.324 mph.

Aric Almirola spun off Turn 2 with just over nine minutes left in the practice session to bring out a caution.

Several drivers filling in as substitutes had mixed fortunes:

• David Ragan, making his second interim start in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota, was 16th (187.806 mph) in place of the injured Kyle Busch, out indefinitely with multiple lower-leg injuries suffered in a Feb. 21 crash during a NASCAR XFINITY Series event at Daytona International Speedway.

• Brett Moffitt, filling Ragan's regular ride in the Front Row Motorsports No. 34 Ford for the first time, was 35th (184.723 mph) fastest as he prepares for just his ninth Sprint Cup start.

• Regan Smith, subbing for suspended Kurt Busch in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet for the third consecutive week, was 22nd-fastest (186.981 mph).

In a heartwarming return to the driver's seat after missing the first two races of the season, Brian Vickers was 29th-fastest in the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55 Toyota. Vickers has spent the offseason recovering from heart surgery last December; team owner Michael Waltrip (Daytona) and Moffitt (Atlanta) drove the car in his place to start 2015.

Practice 3 Results

Pos

Car #

Driver

Make

Sponsor

Speed

Time

Behind

1

48

Jimmie Johnson

Chevrolet

Kobalt Tools

187.637

28.779

Leader

2

22

Joey Logano

Ford

Pennzoil Platinum

186.916

28.890

–0.111

3

13

Casey Mears

Chevrolet

No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS

186.458

28.961

–0.182

4

78

Martin Truex Jr

Chevrolet

Furniture Row

186.438

28.964

–0.185

5

4

Kevin Harvick

Chevrolet

Jimmy John's/ Budweiser

186.342

28.979

–0.200

6

55

Brian Vickers

Toyota

Aaron's 60th Anniversary Dream Machine

185.842

29.057

–0.278

7

20

Matt Kenseth

Toyota

DeWalt

185.816

29.061

–0.282

8

88

Dale Earnhardt Jr

Chevrolet

Nationwide

185.765

29.069

–0.290

9

2

Brad Keselowski

Ford

Miller Lite

185.605

29.094

–0.315

10

3

Austin Dillon

Chevrolet

Dow Energy & Water

185.561

29.101

–0.322

11

15

Clint Bowyer

Toyota

5-Hour Energy

185.370

29.131

–0.352

12

47

AJ Allmendinger

Chevrolet

Clorox

185.338

29.136

–0.357

13

31

Ryan Newman

Chevrolet

Caterpillar

185.319

29.139

–0.360

14

24

Jeff Gordon

Chevrolet

3M

185.306

29.141

–0.362

15

5

Kasey Kahne

Chevrolet

Time Warner Cable

185.153

29.165

–0.386

16

11

Denny Hamlin

Toyota

FedEx Office

185.065

29.179

–0.400

17

42

Kyle Larson

Chevrolet

Target

185.046

29.182

–0.403

18

16

Greg Biffle

Ford

Cheez-It Ford Fusion

184.919

29.202

–0.423

19

43

Aric Almirola

Ford

Smithfield

184.919

29.202

–0.423

20

14

Tony Stewart

Chevrolet

Mobil 1 / Bass Pro Shops

184.628

29.248

–0.469

21

19

Carl Edwards

Toyota

COMCAST BUSINESS

184.622

29.249

–0.470

22

18

David Ragan

Toyota

M&M's Crispy

184.281

29.303

–0.524

23

27

Paul Menard

Chevrolet

Quaker State / Menards

184.168

29.321

–0.542

24

46

Michael Annett

Chevrolet

Cypress

184.005

29.347

–0.568

25

33

Brian Scott

Chevrolet

Whitetail

183.711

29.394

–0.615

26

1

Jamie McMurray

Chevrolet

CESSNA

183.418

29.441

–0.662

27

9

Sam Hornish Jr

Ford

Medallion Bank/Camping World

183.405

29.443

–0.664

28

21

Ryan Blaney

Ford

Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center

183.299

29.460

–0.681

29

7

Alex Bowman

Chevrolet

Nikko/Toy State Chevrolet

183.175

29.480

–0.701

30

51

Justin Allgaier

Chevrolet

Brandt

183.138

29.486

–0.707

31

10

Danica Patrick

Chevrolet

GoDaddy

182.624

29.569

–0.790

32

41

Regan Smith

Chevrolet

Haas Automation

182.624

29.569

–0.790

33

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr

Ford

Fastenal Ford Fusion

182.100

29.654

–0.875

34

38

David Gilliland

Ford

Love's Travel Stops

182.094

29.655

–0.876

35

6

Trevor Bayne

Ford

Advocare Ford Fusion

182.082

29.657

–0.878

36

34

Brett Moffitt

Ford

Shaw's Southern Belle Seafood

181.178

29.805

–1.026

37

95

Michael McDowell

Ford

KLOVE Radio

180.578

29.904

–1.125

38

26

Jeb Burton

Toyota

MaximFantasySports.com Toyota

179.916

30.014

–1.235

39

40

Landon Cassill

Chevrolet

Carsforsale.com

179.587

30.069

–1.290

40

35

Cole Whitt

Ford

Speed Stick

179.533

30.078

–1.299

41

23

J.J. Yeley

Toyota

Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry

179.027

30.163

–1.384

42

98

Josh Wise

Ford

Phil Parsons Racing

178.843

30.194

–1.415

43

62

Brendan Gaughan

Chevrolet

South Point Hotel & Casino

176.974

30.513

–1.734

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