Ryan Blaney was fastest in opening Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Texas with a blistering lap of 199.933 mph.
The No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford was the best among the playoff drivers and Blaney looks to pick up where he left off at Texas in the spring. Blaney started second, won both stages and led 148 laps in April before falling victim to pit strategy at the end of Stage 2.
Blaney, along with (playoff driver) Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch were the only three drivers to crack 199 mph. Hamlin was second fastest at 199.196 mph. Kurt Busch was third fastest at 199.181 mph.
The rest of the top five were Martin Truex Jr. (playoff driver) at 198.954 mph and Matt Kenseth, who ran 198.749 mph. Chase Elliott (playoff driver) was sixth fastest at 198.749 mph with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. seventh fastest at 198.333 mph.
Eighth and ninth fastest were playoff drivers Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick. Busch’s best lap was 198.100 mph. Harvick ran 198.027 mph. Completing the top 10 was Kyle Larson at 197.875 mph.
There were no incidents in the 85-minute session.
As for the other playoff drivers, Brad Keselowski was 13th fastest in the session. The No. 2 Ford ran a lap of 197.578 mph.
The slowest playoff driver was Jimmie Johnson. However, Johnson did not get on track until there were less than 15 minutes remaining in practice. The No. 48 team spent most of the session working through issues in the fuel system. Johnson wound up 19th at 196.428 mph.
At Richard Childress Racing, the No. 27 Chevrolet was driven in practice and will be qualified by Daniel Hemric. Hemric will behind the wheel all day Friday and Saturday morning as the team’s primary driver, Paul Menard, celebrates the birth of his second child. Hemric clocked in 28th on the board.
NEXT UP: Qualifying at 6:15 p.m. ET.