Martin Truex, Jr. tops early morning practice in Michigan

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

BROOKLYN, Mich. – Martin Truex, Jr. led the way in an early morning practice session at Michigan International Speedway.

Truex, 36, set a fast time of 26.293 mph. to top Saturday’s opening session for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The Mayetta, New Jersey native set the fast speed on his ninth of 22 laps, with a time of 36.293 seconds.

Kyle Busch ended the practice in second after trading the top spot with Truex for much of the session. The Las Vegas, Nevada native’s 197.938-mph circuit of the two-mile oval fell just .082 seconds short of Truex’s top time.

Jimmie Johnson (36.485) ended the session in third, but suffered the day’s biggest setback when he spun through the infield in Turn 4 to force the practice’s only red flag. The seven-time champion will roll off from the tail-end of the field on Sunday after going to a backup car.

Ryan Blaney and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five, with Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Erik Jones, Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. completing the top 10.

Busch led the way for the 11 drivers that ran 10 consecutive laps, with an average speed of 196.876 mph. Larson (196.095), Denny Hamlin (195.901), Erik Jones (195.714) and Kevin Harvick (195.684) rounded out the top five.

For teams got a late start to the session due to penalties sustained earlier n the weekend.  Ty Dillon, Ryan Newman and Matt DiBenedetto were held 15 minutes for failing pre-qualifying inspection multiple times, while Jamie McMurray was held 15 minutes for arriving late to pre-qualifying inspection.

The Cup Series garage will roar to life once more when the field returns for final practice at 12 p.m. ET.

Results, via NASCAR

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