Biffle Fastest In First Practice, Johnson Feeling Less Pressure

By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)

Fort Worth, TEXAS — There seems to be a Roush-resurgence this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. In the first practice session of the weekend Greg Biffle paced everyone with a lap of 193.340 mph. Biffle was followed by teammate Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth was fourth fastest.

Elliott Sadler driving another Roush-Fenway powered car fielded by Richard Petty Motorsports was fifth fastest. Jack Roush has more wins at Texas Motor Speedway than any other owner in Sprint Cup with seven victories.

Juan Montoya was the only non Roush-Fenway powered car in the top-five in practice.

The drive for five in a row for Jimmie Johnson is very much alive. He sits 14 points ahead of Denny Hamlin coming into this weekend, and he started the week off by being the fastest car in practice for the majority of the session.

Johnson turned a lap of 191.795 mph which ended up being good enough for the ninth fastest time. With speeds like that anything can happen at anytime at Texas Motor Speedway as Johnson proved last year when he crashed early in this race with contact from Sam Hornish Jr.

However Johnson admitted something in his media availability that may make everyone else nervous. He actually feels less pressure this week, leading by only 14 points than he did in previous seasons when he entered Texas with triple-digit point leads.

“I don’t necessarily feel more pressure. I think I feel more pressure trying to defend something,” Johnson said. “With the small margin like we have, it is really easy what I need to do. I need to win the race.”

“The week has been really easy for me, He continued. “Where other weeks coming into Texas. Concerned the mind is more in a defensive mode… The mind is in offensive mode now.”

Johnson’s closest competitors for the championship, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick, clocked in at 29th and 27th respectively.

Early in the practice session Brad Keselowski had trouble. He went through the infield grass, and messed up his splitter pretty significantly at this aero-sensitive track. Keselowski is coming off of two straight top-10 finishes in the Sprint Cup Series, but if he wants to make it a three-peat he will have to do so in a backup car.

Author: Toby Christie

Toby is the Editor of TheFinalLap.com and Social Media Director of all things @TheFinalLap. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly radio show and podcast, and he is the writer and co-host of the Racing Legends podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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