Kahne, Truex top practices at Chicagoland
September 14, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com
JOLIET, Ill. -- Kasey Kahne set the pace in final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Saturday afternoon at Chicagoland Speedway, turning a 181.068 mph lap in final prep for the opening event of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason.
Kahne, driving the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, ran 52 laps in the final 50-minute session -- the most of any driver -- but logged his chart-topping lap on his first circuit around the 1.5-mile track. His lap was slower than the 182.383 mph lap that Martin Truex Jr. established to lead Saturday’s first Sprint Cup practice.
Juan Pablo Montoya was second-fastest in final practice at 181.056 mph for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, making Chevrolets 1-2 atop the leaderboard. Joey Logano, who scored the Coors Light Pole Award in Friday qualifying, was third-fastest in final practice after logging the eighth-fastest lap in the earlier session.
Five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, Kahne’s Hendrick teammate, was fourth in final practice with Greg Biffle completing the top five in preparation for Sunday’s Geico 400 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Jeff Gordon, newly eligible for title contention, clocked the second-fastest lap in the opening session at 182.328 mph in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. NASCAR officials added the four-time champion to the Chase as the 13th and final seed Friday after a review of last weekend’s regular-season finale at Richmond International Raceway.
Gordon was followed on the early speed chart by two Hendrick teammates -- Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- with Montoya in fifth.
Matt Kenseth, the Sprint Cup points leader heading into the Chase opener, was 11th-best in Saturday’s opening session and ninth-best in final practice.