NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice: New Hampshire

Six-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, who drives the nmber 48 Lowes Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, topped the first 90 minute practice session with a time of 28.148 seconds.

Rookie Kyle Larson was second fastest, his fourth run in the session with five minutes remaining sent him into the second spot, and Johnson's teammate Jeff Gordon was third fastest, followed by Stewart Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick and Jamie McMurray who won this years Sprint All Star race was fifth fastest.

Team Penske driver Joey Logano was the only casualty of the first practice session when his number 22 car suffered a flat left rear tire and shot up into the outside wall, damaging his car and meaning the team had to bring out the back up, but Logano recovered and finished 11th in the session.

Austin Dillon in the famous number three car was the second fastest rookie in 15th, big name drivers Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth were 21st and 22nd respectively, Danica Patrick put in a good run and was 25th when the red and black flag flew, but Greg Biffle had a bad session and was 31st. Eddie Macdonald, who is making his first run in a Sprint Cup Series car in the number 32 car, was 40th and veteran Morgan Shephard was 43rd but only 2.179 seconds slower than Johnson.

Fifteen minutes into the session and Hendricks Motorsports driver Jeff Gordon was top of the board with a 28.179 and a speed of 135.164 mph, a run that was only a few tenths of the track record which was set last September.

Joe Gibbs Racing has two drivers who perform very strong at this track, Denny Hamlin has finished 1st or 2nd in five of his last 17 races at New Hampshire and Kyle Busch had two 2nd place finishes at this track in the 2013 season.

With 29 minutes gone in the session the red flag was brought out when Joey Logano crashed into the outside wall after getting a flat left rear tire, but the driver of the number 22 was unhurt although he will have to go in a back up car for the race on Sunday.

With half an hour gone in the first practice session Jeff Gordon was still top of the charts with a 28.179 run. Clint Bowyer, who won one of the races here in 2010, in the number 15 car was 2nd with a 28.247 and only 41 of the 43 cars at the track had been out for a run.

With 50 minutes left into the session the green flag was back out and some good news for everyone of the drivers at the track as all of them will make the race on Sunday as there are only 43 drivers in the field.

Halfway through the session the highest placed rookie was Larson in 11th place who won the K&N Pro Series East race at New Hampshire and Jeff Gordon was still top of the charts and 42 cars had been out on the track to make a run.

Crew Chief for the number 48 car Chad Knaus said, "The first run (for Johnson) was a bit tight and the second run was a bit loose, so we're trying to balance it out."

The six-time champion has 12 top ten finishes here in the last 14 races and could been on for his third win of the season on Sunday.

With 30 minutes left in the session Johnson went to the top of the board with a 28.148 lap, as Gordon and Bowyer made up the rest of the top three.

Twenty minutes to go and Jamie McMurray in the #1 car went into the top five in 4th and Stewart jumped up into 7th.

There was then a lengthy break on Fox Sports as they decided to spend that time talking about LeBron James moving teams in the NBA, but luckily for NASCAR fans not much changed on the leaderboard apart from Harvick going into 7th and Larson went into the top ten.

As the session was coming to an end and only ten minutes left on the clock, Larson jumped into 2nd as Johnson stayed at the top and Gordon was third.

When the session came to an end McMurray who finished 5th said, "The car felt really good, but was snap over straight earlier," this means that the back end of the car wanted to spin out when he out the gas pedal down.

Also last weeks Daytona winner Aric Almirola mentioned "This is one of the best tracks for me to come to to try and get back to back wins." 

Jeff Burton, who has the most wins (4) at New Hampshire is back in a Sprint Cup car this weekend in the number 66 car and a number of teams have decals and stickers on their cars to remember the late Adam Petty who would have celebrated his 34th birthday this weekend.