Final Talladega practice ends with Jimmie Johnson on top

Happy Hour at Talladega Superspeedway turned into a speed battle between Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing with Jimmie Johnson landing on top.

Final Talladega practice ends with Jimmie Johnson on top

Johnson, who has two wins on the 2.66-mile track, posted the top single lap speed of 196.386mph. He also has nothing to lose on Sunday since his win at Charlotte Motor Speedway locked the No. 48 team into the Round of 8.

“We haven’t taken anything for granted and we raced last weekend going for a win,” Johnson said. “We will do the same this weekend in Talladega. It is nice to not have to worry about advancing with Talladega being the cut-off race, but our speedway program is outstanding and we will have a great Lowe’s Chevy for this weekend.

“It's going to be an interesting race with so many good guys going for the Round of 8 and this being their last opportunity to make it through. It's going to be wild.”

Matt Kenseth was second quick with a lap of 196,338mph followed by rookie Chase Elliott (196.334mph) and Carl Edwards (196.330mph). Alex Bowman, the only non-Chaser in the top five, ran a lap of 196.330mph.

Kasey Kahne was sixth fastest on the speed chart with a lap of 196.330mph followed by Paul Menard (196.302mph), Ryan Reed (196.266mph), Kyle Busch (196.262mph) and Martin Truex Jr., (196.250mph). Reed is hoping to make his Sprint Cup debut this weekend in the No. 99 Ford with 41 cars in the field.

Only 25 drivers participated in Happy Hour. Hamlin, who was 11th fastest, completed 38 circuits, the most in the session.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 48  Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 16 48.761     196.386
2 20  Matt Kenseth  Toyota 29 48.773 0.012 0.012 196.338
3 24  Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 24 48.774 0.013 0.001 196.334
4 19  Carl Edwards  Toyota 19 48.775 0.014 0.001 196.330
5 88  Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 21 48.775 0.014 0.000 196.330
6 5  Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 19 48.775 0.014 0.000 196.330
7 27  Paul Menard  Chevrolet 8 48.782 0.021 0.007 196.302
8 99  Ryan Reed  Ford 19 48.791 0.030 0.009 196.266
9 18  Kyle Busch  Toyota 28 48.792 0.031 0.001 196.262
10 78  Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 21 48.795 0.034 0.003 196.250

CLICK HERE for complete session results

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