Jimmie Johnson made the most of Saturday’s final practice, heading the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series leaderboard at Dover International Speedway.
Johnson drove the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet to a best lap of 161.863 mph in the 50-minute session. Johnson tops the 1-mile track’s all-time list with 11 wins, but heads into Monday’s Gander RV 400 (Noon ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM) with a 69-race losing streak that dates to his most recent Dover win in June 2017.
RELATED: Final practice results
“It went well,” Johnson said. “You know, the track changed so much from the start of practice to the end. I think all the teams are pretty smart to know that you need to keep changing every time you go out, even if the run before was really strong. We kind of kept that philosophy and stayed with the progression of the track and continued to have a lot of pace in the car.
“So, it’s amazing how fast we are going after 15-20 laps still. There is not much drop off. There is a lot of drop off when you get to a pack of cars in front of you. I think that tall spoiler gives us a lot of confidence by ourselves, but in traffic I think we are going to have less available air and some issues there.”
Martin Truex Jr. secured the second-fastest lap (161.718 mph) in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota, putting him just ahead of JGR teammate Erik Jones (161.435), who was third-fastest in the No. 20 Toyota.
Kyle Larson took fourth on the practice leaderboard with Aric Almirola finishing out the top five. Almirola’s Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 Ford team served a 15-minute penalty at the end of final practice after failing Friday’s pre-qualifying inspection twice.
MORE: No. 10 car chief ejected
Daniel Suarez scuffed the right side of his No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford early in the session, scraping the outside retaining wall on the exit of Turn 4. He continued with cosmetic damage and claimed the sixth-fastest speed in final practice.
Chase Elliott, who won the Busch Pole in Friday’s qualifying, was 10th-fastest in final practice in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet. He’ll be vying for his second consecutive victory in the series, plus his second straight at Dover after prevailing at the Delaware oval last October.
Monday’s 400-miler is the 11th of 36 points-paying races for the Monster Energy Series. The tour returns to Dover on Oct. 6 in the NASCAR Playoffs.
Fog cancels Saturday’s early practice
Saturday’s early Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice was canceled by fog at Dover International Speedway.
RELATED: Full schedule for Dover
The second tune-up session of the weekend was scheduled for 50 minutes, but poor visibility kept cars off the 1-mile track after the scheduled start time of 9:05 a.m. ET. A light drizzle that began at 9:30 a.m. ET compounded the inclement weather and forced a delay to Xfinity Series qualifying, which was scheduled for a 10:10 a.m. ET start.
A breakdown of the track-drying equipment on hand at the Monster Mile: six Air Titans, four conventional jet dryers, two track vacuums and two tractor brooms.