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Johnson, Kurt Busch top Pocono practices

June 08, 2013, Staff report,

Sprint Cup drivers make most of prep time after Friday's rainout

RELATED: Sprint Cup practice results

Points leader Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch led NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice sessions Saturday at Pocono Raceway, marking the series' first on-track activity of the weekend after a Friday washout.

Johnson set the pace in Saturday’s opening practice on the 2.5-mile triangular track, clocking a fast lap of 175.586 mph in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Busch led the final 50-minute session with a best lap at 175.333 mph in the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevy in preparation for Sunday’s Party in the Poconos 400 (1 p.m. ET, TNT, MRN).


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Johnson and Busch were consistently fast over the two sessions. Johnson was second-fastest in the second practice, and Busch was third-best in first practice.

Their consistency was rivaled only by Carl Edwards, who was second-best in the first practice and third-fastest in practice two in his No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.

The top practice speeds were well below the track qualifying record of 179.598 mph, set by Joey Logano in winning the Coors Ligh Pole Award for this race last season on the facility’s brand-new pavement. Logano went on to win the 400-miler, nudging past Mark Martin for the more recent of his two career Sprint Cup victories.

Marcos Ambrose and Kevin Harvick completed the top five in the first practice behind (in order) Johnson, Edwards and Busch. Tony Stewart, last week’s winner at Dover International Speedway, was fourth-fastest in final practice, followed by Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Ryan Newman.

The first practice, delayed 15 minutes by damp conditions, was slowed by a caution period some 15 minutes in because of oil dropped in Turn 3. The yellow flag came shortly after Paul Menard pulled his Richard Childress Racing No. 27 Chevrolet into the garage with transmission trouble.

Saturday’s practice followed the persistent rain that washed away Friday’s schedule. Some drivers reported seeing mist on their windshields during portions of the first practice on the mostly overcast day.

Sunday’s race day forecast calls for mostly sunny conditions with temperatures in the mid- to upper-70s.