Edwards strikes first with the quickest lap in opening NHMS practice

Carl Edwards found the fast lane on the Magic Mile.

Edwards posted the fastest time (27.823-seconds) in first practice with a lap of 136.894 mph on Friday.

“Good job everybody,” Edwards said after running 34 laps in the No. 19 Toyota. Edwards also posted the Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average of 132.298 mph.

Johnson and Keselowski not far behind

Jimmie Johnson, who led the first hour of practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, was second quick with a lap of 136.311 mph posted on his first lap during his final run. 

"I was really surprised how little front grip I had that first lap, it got better the second lap especially in," Johnson said midway during the session. "I missed my marks coming to green the first time through 1 & 2.”

Brad Keselowski was the first to knock Jimmie Johnson off of the top spot on the speed chart just after the one hour mark. He told crew chief Paul Wolfe, “Not all the way where I want to but a pretty big improvement.”

After Kurt Busch topped Keselowski, the No. 2 came back and upped his speed with five minutes remaining in the session with a lap of 136.155 mph for the third spot.

“Getting it better, I appreciate that,” Keselowski said.

Gibson on hand at NHMS

Kyle Larson (126.058 mph) and Kurt Busch (136.019 mph) rounded out the top five in first practice. Although New Hampshire Motor Speedway has never been Busch’s favorite track on the NASCAR circuit, coming off of his third-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing team is hoping to keep the momentum going. Despite having an emergency appendectomy on Tuesday, crew chief Tony Gibson insisted on joining the team for the second race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. 

Busch sent his plane for Gibson Friday morning and the veteran crew chief was at the track in time for practice. With 15-minutes remaining, Busch jumped to the top of the chart but it was short-lived. 

“That was a 28-flat,”  crew chief Tony Gibson told his driver. “That’s P1 right now.”

“Lap 3, I thought that was going to be a disaster the car is handling right on edge, sliding the nose in the center, right on edge sliding the rear on exit,” Busch replied. “Not sure what to change or to do anything. Just have to get some heat in the tires.”

When Busch returned to the track, he told the team, “I need a little bit more on the left side.”

Other drivers of note

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, AJ Allmendinger and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top 10. After Kevin Harvick’s issues last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway and subsequent 42nd-place finish, the No. 4 Budweiser Chevy posted the 11th fastest lap but was second in Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average (132.200 mph).

Other Chase notables include: Joey Logano (13th), Kyle Busch (14th), Martin Truex Jr. (15th), Denny Hamlin (16th) and Ryan Newman (18th).

CLICK HERE for complete practice results

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Event Loudon II
Track New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Drivers Carl Edwards
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing
Article type Practice report