Jimmie Johnson Leads First Cup Practice

Sorry, race fans: The guy most of you are tired of seeing is back atop the charts again.

Four-time defending Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson led the first of two practices for Sunday’s Auto Club 500 on Saturday afternoon in Southern California, posting a fast lap of 182.537 mph.

His Hendrick Motorsports teammate Mark Martin was second (182.182), mirroring their finish in the standings last season.

Denny Hamlin was third, followed by Roush Fenway Racing drivers Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle.

Juan Pablo Montoya, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch rounded out the top 10.

Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray won the pole on Friday but dropped off to 28th in practice.

Other drivers of note included Tony Stewart (12th), Kyle Busch (14th) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (20th).

The final practice is scheduled for 12:45 p.m local time (3:45 p.m. EST) this afternoon.

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