Jimmie Johnson fired off the fastest lap in final practice for Cup series teams at Texas Motor Speedway with a lap of 186.670 mph. In three attempts at Texas, Johnson has never finished outside of the top ten. "Yeah, I think this track has so...
Jimmie Johnson fired off the fastest lap in final practice for Cup series teams at Texas Motor Speedway with a lap of 186.670 mph. In three attempts at Texas, Johnson has never finished outside of the top ten.
"Yeah, I think this track has so much grip," said Johnson. "You better go into the corner straight and the track will turn. Guys are still running great lines. We'll drive it in deep and see what happens.
Kasey Kahne posted the second quickest time with a lap of 186.580 mph. Kahne narrowly missed out on his first career victory here last year, when Elliott Sadler managed to overtake him for the victory.
"(Texas) is one of the tracks where we were about as dominant as we were at Charlotte," said Kahne. "We could have won that race last year, and we look forward to going back there. That's one of my favorite racetracks, probably one of the top three on my list. Hopefully, we'll have a really good weekend and contend for a top five or even a win."
Atlanta winner, Carl Edwards, was third fastest charting a lap of 186.265 mph. In four starts at Texas Motor Speedway in the Truck Series, Carl Edwards has garnered two top-five and four top-10 finishes. This weekend will mark his first start at the track in both the Busch and Cup Series.
"Going to a 1.5-mile track is a nice change of pace from the short-tracks we've been racing at," said Edwards. "We have not had good runs the last couple weeks but I'm not going to let that get me down. When we sat down at the beginning of the year we would have never forecasted leading the Busch points, being 11th in the Cup points and having my first career wins in the Busch and Cup Series within the first six races of the season.
"I think we are doing much better than we ever anticipated. We just need to learn from everything and keep moving forward. It's a long season and we are just getting started."
Mark Martin and Bill Elliott complete the top five fastest times.
"My strategy for both races will be to go there and go faster than everyone else and win the race," said Martin. "I'm actually glad to go to Texas twice, because I think it's a great track and one where we've always performed pretty well. It's my kind of track and it really suits my driving style. Obviously we'll go there the second time and use anything that we might have learned the first time, but we'll clearly be looking to try to win both of those."
Polesitter Ryan Newman was considerably slower than in Friday's time-trial efforts posting only the 32nd time. Defending race winner Elliott Sadler also slowed a bit his practice and qualifying times charting 15th.
"I think we're pretty good," Sadler said. "I think we've really worked on our short-track program a lot. Last year that was our Achilles heel. This year we scored more points on both short tracks at Martinsville and Bristol than any other race team, so we think we've closed those valleys up. We came in here and tested a week ago because we didn't run in Atlanta like we thought we should.
"I think we learned some things about our aero program and the cars and what we need to do on these mile-and-a-halves, so I think our program is really strong. We're jelling together. We've got a lot of momentum. Everybody is getting along - a lot of important things that a race team needs happen to run good week in and week out."