Race Weekend Central

Ryan Newman Leads Opening Cup Practice At Homestead

Championship 4? Chase contender? Ryan Newman was never close to either this season, but that didn’t stop the veteran from leading the field during an uneventful NASCAR Sprint Cup Series opening practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Newman, posting a speed of 175.387 mph, led the way in his No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet and now has a goal of his own. This team is still seeking its first win since Newman slid behind the wheel to start the 2014 season.

Martin Truex, Jr. was second fastest, seeking what could be a series-leading fifth victory this weekend. He posted a speed of 175.353 mph for Furniture Row Racing as he looks to add to a career year. Kyle Larson, who’s got three straight top-15 finishes at HMS, wound up third quick with a speed of 175.256 mph.

Joey Logano was the top Championship 4 contender, clocking in fourth, followed closely by Jimmie Johnson. Johnson led for most of the session before being passed by Logano late. Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards trailed that duo in eighth and ninth, respectively, as Joe Gibbs Racing began their title push. Owner Gibbs revealed shortly after practice that the duo would not be sharing information this weekend; they’ll be acting as individuals within the four-car operation.

Brad Keselowski was sixth quick in first practice with AJ Allmendinger seventh. Rookie Chase Elliott (10th) rounded out the top-10 speeds. Less than 0.2 seconds separated first from 10th in what’s set up a razor-tight qualifying session later today.

Further back in the field, rookie Gray Gaulding was the slowest of the five open teams, posting a speed of just 166.200 mph (38th fastest). Gaulding’s poor run came just days after the youngster announced he’ll be running full-time next season in the No. 30 for The Motorsports Group; he’ll need to edge Reed Sorenson (37th fastest) to make the grid.

Click here for speeds from Cup practice number one.

About the author

The author of Did You Notice? (Wednesdays) Tom spends his time overseeing Frontstretch’s 40+ staff members as its majority owner and Editor-in-Chief. Based outside Philadelphia, Bowles is a two-time Emmy winner in NASCAR television and has worked in racing production with FOX, TNT, and ESPN while appearing on-air for SIRIUS XM Radio and FOX Sports 1's former show, the Crowd Goes Wild. He most recently consulted with SRX Racing, helping manage cutting-edge technology and graphics that appeared on their CBS broadcasts during 2021 and 2022.

You can find Tom’s writing here, at CBSSports.com and Athlonsports.com, where he’s been an editorial consultant for the annual racing magazine for 15 years.

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