SONOMA, Calif. — Report by Race Chaser Online Correspondent Aaron Bearden — NASCAR photo —
Last season, Joe Gibbs Racing was one of the slowest teams in the field at Sonoma Raceway. During Friday’s final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session, they topped the charts.
Kyle Busch laid down a 74.489-second lap to top the final practice session for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350. Busch, who claimed a victory at the California track in 2008, had an average speed of 96.175 mph in his quickest lap. The Las Vegas, Nevada native is the only member of Joe Gibbs Racing that hasn’t been to victory lane in 2015.
Busch’s JGR teammate Carl Edwards finished the session second on the charts, with a 74.602-second lap. Edwards is the defending winner at Sonoma after earning his first-career road course win with Roush Fenway Racing last season.
Kurt Busch put down the third-fastest time on the charts to lead Chevrolet. After topping Friday’s first practice session, 2012 race winner Clint Bowyer continued to show speed, jumping to fourth in the charts. Bowyer’s former teammate and 2013 winner Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top 5.
Jeff Gordon completed a 74.820-second circuit around the track to end the session in sixth, while Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne finished behind him in seventh. Road course aces Sam Hornish Jr. and Michael McDowell ended the day eighth and ninth, with Jimmie Johnson rounding out the top 10 to give Hendrick Motorsports three of the top 10 positions.
All 44 entrants took part in the 85-minute practice session, with Brendan Gaughan putting up the slowest time. Gaughan, 39, is looking to make second-career start at Sonoma, following a 26th-place showing in 2004. The Las Vegas, Nevada native will have to qualify for Sunday’s race on speed.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will return to Sonoma Raceway on Saturday for Coors Light Pole Qualifying at 2:15 p.m. ET. Coverage for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 will begin on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.