Kurt Busch leads practice at New Hampshire
September 20, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com
MORE: Full coverage of the Chase for the Sprint Cup | Practice results
LOUDON, N.H. -- Three-time New Hampshire Motor Speedway winner Kurt Busch led the opening practice session for the Sylvania 300, besting a litter of Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers near the top of the leaderboard on Friday.
Making a mock qualifying run late in the practice, Busch's time of 28.244 seconds around the one-mile oval gave him a best speed of 134.853 mph.
Kasey Kahne placed second, running the 29th of his 30 laps with a speed of 134.477 mph to narrowly edge fellow Chase contenders Ryan Newman (134.439 mph), Jeff Gordon (134.368 mph) and Kyle Busch (134.302 mph), who rounded out the top five.
Looking to make the most of a lost season that saw him miss the Chase for the first time in his career, Denny Hamlin (134.212 mph), was sixth. The rest of the top 10 was filled with Chase drivers in Joey Logano (134.165 mph), Kevin Harvick (134.032 mph) and Jimmie Johnson (133.981 mph), along with Martin Truex Jr. (133.990 mph), who initially had made the Chase field but was eventually replaced by Newman.
Points leader Matt Kenseth (133.886 mph) was 12th, while Greg Biffle's 22nd position on the chart made him the slowest Chase driver in practice.
Clint Bowyer (133.905 mph, 11th) brushed the wall slightly but, apart from a light, cosmetic scrape, his car was not damaged.
Juan Pablo Montoya, who announced earlier this week that he would be leaving NASCAR at season's end to take a Penske Racing ride in the IndyCar Series, was 14th.