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Bowyer sweeps Saturday practices

April 06, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com

Johnson finishes second depsite contact with Logano

Read more: Practice results, lineup for race

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Clint Bowyer swept the speed charts Saturday, running fastest in both practice sessions for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway.

Bowyer, who stirred the pot with a controversial finish here last spring, turned a fast lap of 97.018 mph, slightly faster than his earlier pace of 96.681 mph.

Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano headed to the garage after Logano scraped the wall and slowed, resulting in contact with Johnson. Both drivers returned to the track, Johnson with tape on his left-front and Logano with repairs to his right-rear. Despite the incident, Johnson finished with the second-fastest lap and a top speed of 96.293 mph.

Drivers were also briefly slowed on the .526-mile track when a screwdriver made its way into the traffic.

After a strong Toyota showing in the earlier practices -- Kyle Busch was second in the earlier practice clocking a best lap of 96.528 mph -- Brian Vickers was the only other Camry in the top-10, finishing eighth, .216 seconds off Bowyer., while Busch finished 12th.

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Carl Edwards' No. 99 Ford was third-fastest with a best lap of 96.161 mph, followed by fellow Ford driver Greg Biffle at 96.151 mph. Defending Sprint Cup Champion Brad Keselowski just missed the top five, falling behind Jeff Burton's 19.710-second lap by .004 seconds.

Jeff Gordon, a seven-time Martinsville winner, couldn't better his earlier practice finish of third, taking the 16th-fastest run of the afternoon depsite running the most laps (96). Last year's race winner Ryan Newman also ran slower this time around, finishing 14th in the final practice after a fifth-place run in the morning.

Mark Martin, subbing for the injured Denny Hamlin, was 20th-fastest in the later practice, following his 17th-fastest run in the No. 11 Toyota Saturday morning.

Sprint Cup points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished in the top-10 with a best lap of 95.927 mph in the later practice, a significant jump to ninth from his 28th spot in the earlier practice.

The STP Gas Booster 500 will take place Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX.

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