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:
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
|5||Dale Earnhardt Jr||-0.371||0.031||189.394||28.512|
|6||Martin Truex Jr||-0.402||0.026||189.188||28.543|