Martin Truex Jr. was part of the good and bad news for Toyota in Thursday’s lone Sprint Cup practice session at Texas Motor Speedway.
With just minutes left in the session, Truex posted the fastest average lap speed of 192.892 mph. The bad news? Truex was the lone Toyota in the top-10 of practice.
The next-best Toyota was Matt Kenseth, who came in at 11th with an average speed at 190.792.
Truex edged out Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, who held the top two positions on the speed chart prior to Truex’s final late-session run.
The Penske teammates were followed by Austin Dillon and Brian Vickers to round out the top five.
Jimmie Johnson, who swept both Cup races at Texas last season, posted the sixth-fastest speed, followed by A.J. Allmendinger, Greg Biffle, Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney.
In a media availability earlier Thursday, Johnson reflected on why he thought he and his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet team remained good at Texas despite the changes in cars and aerodynamics over the years.
“It’s just this race track. I think tracks with an older surface; the bumpier it is, the more tire wear, it’s just a condition that plays into our wheelhouse,” he said. “And we’ve hit on some things here over the last few trips and it consistently works for us and it continues to put speed and longevity in the car.
“We weren’t necessarily the best car in all those races, but we were in the top 3, top 5; and I truly believe if you run there long enough, you’ll have opportunities to win. We’ve been able to win on speed and then when being at the right place and being able to take advantage of things, too.”
Kurt Busch, who posted the 25th fastest speed in practice, is without crew chief Tony Gibson until Saturday. Gibson remained back in the Charlotte area to be with his wife, Beth, who is ill. Team engineer Johnny Klausmeier and team co-owner Tony Stewart worked with Busch during practice in Gibson's absence.