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Earnhardt Jr. leads field in final practice

October 26, 2013, Staff report,

Logano paces Saturday's first session; Kyle Busch, Kenseth also show speed

RELATED: Full practice results, lineup

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Joey Logano set the pace in Saturday practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in cool, crisp conditions at Martinsville Speedway.

Earnhardt, in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, topped the final 50-minute practice session with a fast lap of 97.533 mph. He starts 12th in Sunday's Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 powered by Kroger (1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), vying for his first win at NASCAR's oldest track.

Logano, driving the No. 22 Penske Racing Ford, topped the leaderboard in the early 55-minute session with a lap at 97.468 mph around the 0.526-mile oval. He'll start sixth Sunday on a track where he has just one top-five finish and has yet to lead a lap in his Sprint Cup career.

Clint Bowyer was second-fastest to Earnhardt in final practice, followed by third-fastest Kasey Kahne, Earnhardt's Hendrick teammate. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth, who will start third and fourth respectively in Sunday's 500-lapper, closed out the top five.

Familiar faces rounded out the top five in the early practice Saturday, with Busch, Earnhardt, Kenseth and Bowyer grabbing spots two through five on the leaderboard.

Series points leader Jimmie Johnson, an eight-time Martinsville winner, was eighth-fastest in the early session and sixth-best in final practice. Pole-starter Denny Hamlin, a four-time winner here, was just 28th on the speed charts in the early practice, but improved to 17th in final practice.

The first practice session was slowed by two spins, one early by Greg Biffle in the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford and one late by Bobby Labonte in the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Toyota. Labonte made contact with the wall, but his crew was scrambling to repair his Camry and avoid going to a backup car.

Only one caution for debris slowed the final practice.


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