Race Weekend Central

Daniel Suarez, Jimmie Johnson Pace Pair of MENCS Practices at Texas

Daniel Suarez and Jimmie Johnson led the pair of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practices Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.

With dramatically colder temperatures than on Friday, 12 drivers ran faster than Friday’s pole speed. Suarez posted a 198.998 mph lap in first practice, narrowly edging Denny Hamlin. William Byron, who will start in the rear of the field Sunday in a backup car, was third-quickest. Seven-time Texas winner Johnson and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five.

Meanwhile, polesitter Kurt Busch was 12th-quickest.

The only incident in the first session came when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. hit the wall, heavily damaging the right side of the No. 17 Ford. He was forced to a backup car after the contact, telling his team he believed was caused by a tire going down.

The second session was delayed for a half hour for drizzle and was ultimately shortened to 30 minutes.

Johnson was fastest in final practice with a 196.143 mph lap ahead of Harvick. Suarez was third-quickest, followed by polesitter Kurt Busch. Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top five.

Harrison Rhodes and Ryan Newman each served 15-minute holds for failing pre-qualifying inspection.

The O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 will run Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET.



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