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Johnson tops first Sprint Cup practice at Michigan

August 16, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com

Montoya speeds to second after announcement he will not return to No. 42

RELATED: Full practice results

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Jimmie Johnson's bid for that elusive first victory at Michigan International Speedway is off to a promising start.

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The five-time Sprint Cup Series champion was fastest in opening practice for Sunday's Pure Michigan 500, turning a best lap of 203.355 mph at the 2-mile track. Michigan is one of five active tracks -- and the only facility hosting two events per season -- where Johnson has never won. Johnson finished 28th at Michigan in June after blowing a tire trying to chase down eventual winner Greg Biffle in the waning laps.

 

Second on the speed chart was Juan Pablo Montoya, who learned earlier this week that he won't be returning to Earnhardt Ganassi Racing after this season. Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Carl Edwards, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top 10.

 

Biffle, winner of the most recent event here, was 12th on the speed chart. Austin Dillon, the Nationwide Series points leader substituting for the injured Tony Stewart, was 16th-fastest in his first practice in the No. 14 car.

 

Friday's session was delayed twice by engine failures, one each by Marcos Ambrose and Jamie McMurray. McMurray's failure required a substantial cleanup and led NASCAR to extend the practice by an additional 10 minutes.

 

The Sprint Cup cars will practice twice more Saturday, at 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. ET.

 

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