Johnson tops practice 2 in Las Vegas

Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson

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.

Results

Pos No Driver Make Behind Gap Speed Time
1 Jimmie Johnson LEADER 0.314 191.891 28.141
2 Ryan Newman -0.314 0.016 189.773 28.455
3 Kevin Harvick -0.33 0.007 189.667 28.471
4 Joey Logano -0.337 0.034 189.620 28.478
5 Dale Earnhardt Jr -0.371 0.031 189.394 28.512
6 Martin Truex Jr -0.402 0.026 189.188 28.543
7 Denny Hamlin -0.428 0.026 189.016 28.569
8 Tony Stewart -0.454 0.002 188.844 28.595
9 Kyle Larson -0.456 0.011 188.831 28.597
10 Matt Kenseth -0.467 0.003 188.758 28.608
11 Paul Menard -0.47 0.008 188.739 28.611
12 Carl Edwards -0.478 0.009 188.686 28.619
13 Brad Keselowski -0.487 0.046 188.627 28.628
14 Jeff Gordon -0.533 0.021 188.324 28.674
15 Kasey Kahne -0.554 0.058 188.186 28.695
16 David Ragan -0.612 0.02 187.806 28.753
17 Danica Patrick -0.632 0.042 187.676 28.773
18 Greg Biffle -0.674 0.017 187.402 28.815
19 AJ Allmendinger -0.691 0.03 187.292 28.832
20 Jamie McMurray -0.721 0.016 187.097 28.862
21 Casey Mears -0.737 0.002 186.994 28.878
22 Regan Smith -0.739 0.066 186.981 28.880
23 Brian Scott -0.805 0.001 186.554 28.946
24 Aric Almirola -0.806 0.004 186.548 28.947
25 Austin Dillon -0.81 0.044 186.522 28.951

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