Kurt Busch tops opening practice session for Coke 600

Jimmie Johnson was back to his speed-demon ways at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday.

Kurt Busch tops opening practice session for Coke 600

In the first practice for the Coca-Cola 600, Johnson set the fast pace with a lap of 191.252 mph (28.235 seconds) early -- but with two minutes to go in practice, Kurt Busch knocked the No. 48 from the top spot. The 2010 winner of this event posted a lap of 192.843 mph (28.002 seconds). 

“It’s amazing the feel of three-run scuffs compared to stickers,” Busch told the team. His crew chief Tony Gibson replied they needed to remember that strategy for tonight’s qualifying.  

Johnson held on for second but Carl Edwards leap-frogged over Kevin Harvick (190.772 mph) with a lap of 191.042 mph for third. Kyle Larson’s (190.745 mph) final run vaulted the No. 42 Chevy to fifth on the speed chart followed by last Saturday night’s All-Star winner Joey Logano (190.584 mph), Martin Truex Jr. (190.496 mph), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (190.416 mph), Jamie McMurray (190.369 mph) and Kyle Busch (190.255 mph).

Busch ran the most laps (25) and the only driver to complete 10 consecutive laps for an average speed of 185.465 mph. 

The session was red-flagged at the 18:51 mark after the right rear spring came off of Logano’s No. 22 Ford before he recorded his first lap. The team later acknowledged they forgot to take the strut out of the spring. 

Although Denny Hamlin was 14th quick, he said following his run, “We were very encouraged there, running all three segments on the same tires.” 

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