In opening practice at Sonoma Raceway, one of the most underrated road course racers in the series led the way. Kurt Busch took the top spot in the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge with a speed of 93.014mph (77.021 seconds).
[media-credit id=41 align=”alignright” width=”290″][/media-credit]“We’ve definitely had some chances of winning on the road courses in the Cup cars through the years,” Busch said. “We started third and had a strong top-five run going at Sonoma (Infineon) last year before the late-race run-in. We came back and really threatened for the win last August at Watkins Glen. To race with (Juan Pablo) Montoya and (Marcos) Ambrose like we did there was definitely a confidence-builder. Those two guys come from a different world when it comes to road course racing. We got by Ambrose at the end and were closing in on Montoya.
Once qualifying hits the track later today, Busch will go for his fourth consecutive Coors Light Pole Award at Sonoma, to go along with the four top-five finishes and seven top-10s he has scored on his 20 road course starts to date.
Denny Hamlin drove his No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota to second on the charts at 92.559mph.
After Red Bull Racing has been in the media all week, Kasey Kahne drove his No. 4 Red Bull Toyota to the third spot at 92.546mph. Kevin Harvick (92.361mph) and Martin Truex Jr. (92.359mph) rounded out the top five.
A.J. Allmendinger was sixth, followed by Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart, David Gilliland and Marcos Ambrose.
Points leader Carl Edwards, meanwhile, was 37th, 2.052 seconds off the pace set by Busch.