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Johnson leads final practice at Atlanta

August 31, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com

Jimmie Johnson

Johnson posts top speed in rain-shortened session

Related: Practice results and lineup for Sunday's AdvoCare 500

HAMPTON, Ga. -- Jimmie Johnson is atop the Sprint Cup Series standings, and atop the speed chart following final practice at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The five-time series champion set the pace in the final session Saturday, turning a best lap of 186.447 mph. Clint Bowyer was second, followed by Carl Edwards, Juan Pablo Montoya and Kasey Kahne. Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Marcos Ambrose and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top 10. Johnson leads Bowyer by 18 points in the standings with two races remaining before points are reset prior to the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

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Logano, Busch and Keselowski are among those drivers trying to secure the final remaining playoff berths. Other Chase hopefuls in final practice included Martin Truex Jr. in 11th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 19th, Jeff Gordon in 22nd, and Ryan Newman in 25th.

Final practice was delayed briefly by rain, and extended five minutes by NASCAR. Scheduled for 50 minutes, the session lasted just over 30 minutes due to the delay.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who in qualifying on Friday earned his first career Sprint Cup pole, was 12th. Denny Hamlin changed an engine between Saturday's two practices and ran 21st in the final session. He will have to vacate his fourth-place qualifying position and start from the rear.

The AdvoCare 500 is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET Sunday (ESPN).

 

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