Early contact in practice sends Almirola to the garage

Aric Almirola, David Ragan tangle during first morning practice session at Martinsville Speedway.

Early contact in practice sends Almirola to the garage
David Ragan, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Aric Almirola, Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
Aric Almirola, Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

MARTINSVILLE, Va. - In the first five minutes of second practice at Martinsville Speedway, contact occurred between the David Ragan and Aric Almirola.

Ironically, Jeff Gordon, who showed his displeasure with Ragan at Auto Club Speedway, was in the mix but not affected in the exchange.

“That 43 just left-sided us up into (turn) 1,” said Ragan, before coming back to the garage.

Almirola, who qualified 18th on Friday, took responsibility for the incident.

“That was my fault, I got in there a little hot,” Almirola said. “I was loose in. It was karma for yesterday.”

Denny Hamlin led the session with a lap of 97.113 mph. Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards rounded out the top five.

Almirola returned to the garage for cosmetic repairs and continued the session. He posted the 13th fastest lap. Ragan was 24th.

Thirty minutes into practice, eight-time Martinsville winner Johnson believed he was having engine issues. However, after diagnosing the car the team believed the problem to be electrical. Johnson reported upon his return, "No issues. Running well now."

NOTE:  Justin Allgaier was able to log laps in a backup car during practice. Allgaier wheel-hopped during the second round of Friday's qualifying and plowed into the wall.

Casey Mears' team changed transmissions on the No. 13 Chevy after qualifying. Mears was never able to get up to speed at the start of the second round of time trials.

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