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Stenhouse Jr. leads first Chicagoland practice

September 13, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com

Stenhouse Jr. leads first Chicagoland practice
Roush Fenway Racing places three drivers in top 10; Kurt Busch runs second

Related: Full Chase coverage | Practice results | Qualifying order

JOLIET, Ill. -- Rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr. shot to the top of the leaderboard in opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, recording a lap of 187.669 mph at Chicagoland Speedway.

Stenhouse, driving the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, notched his first career Coors Light Pole Award two weeks ago at Atlanta Motor Speedway. His fast lap in the opening 90-minute practice was just under the track record of 188.147 mph, set by Jimmie Johnson in qualifying in 2005.

Former Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch, in the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet, was second fastest at 187.643 mph, just four thousandths of a second slower than Stenhouse. He was the fastest among the 12 championship-eligible drivers involved in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason.

Carl Edwards, Stenhouse’s Roush Fenway teammate in the No. 99 Ford, was third-fastest at 187.578 mph. Johnson took fourth on the opening speed chart with Juan Pablo Montoya fifth.

Matt Kenseth, the new series leader after the points re-set following the regular-season finale last weekend at Richmond, was 14th-fastest in opening practice for the Geico 400 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN), the opening event in the 10-race Chase playoffs.

Qualifying for Sunday's race is scheduled to take place Friday at 5:10 p.m. ET.

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