Race Weekend Central

Jimmie Johnson Tops Opening Friday Sprint Cup Practice

Jimmie Johnson won opening Friday practice at Daytona International Speedway with a lap time of 46.372 seconds. The two-time Daytona 500 champion led a field of only 13 who posted a lap in the afternoon session.

Denny Hamlin was second quick at a 46.425, running only five laps followed by Sunday’s pole winner Chase Elliott who ran 17 laps.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Trevor Bayne represented Roush Fenway Racing as they finished fourth and sixth, respectively.

Brian Scott made his opening laps in a backup No. 44 machine following a last-lap crash in Thursday’s Can-Am Duel No. 1. The upcoming rookie finished 12th, behind Robert Richardson, Jr. who will race in Sunday’s Daytona 500 for BK Racing.

Chris Buescher, Michael Annett, Casey Mears, Clint Bowyer and Bobby Labonte also took to the track in the session. Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex, Jr., both of whom are in backup cars after Thursday’s Duel race chose to keep their new machines parked in the garage.

About the author

Growing up in Easton, Pa., Zach Catanzareti has grown his auto racing interest from fandom to professional. Joining Frontstretch in 2015, Zach enjoys nothing more than being at the track, having covered his first half-season of 18 races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2017. With experience behind the wheel, behind the camera and in the media center, he thrives on being an all-around reporter.

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I don’t know with all the hype that is normally Jr. I am seeing super hype this weekend. The 15th anniversary of his dad’s death. The talk of his car “Amelia”, all the other drivers bowing down to his “expertise” at plate racing, the never ending Jr. this and that. His win at the duels. What a media freak show it would be if he won, they will be peeing themselves at Castle Daytona.

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