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Bowyer Leads Opening Sonoma Practice

Clint Bowyer paced the opening round of Sprint Cup Series practice at Sonoma Speedway on Friday with a fast lap of 74.979 seconds — besting AJ Allmendinger, Sam Hornish Jr., Danica Patrick and Jamie McMurray.

This is an important weekend for the winless Bowyer as this is his best career track based on his 9.2 average finish. He also won at the California road course back in 2012 and desperately needs a win as he currently sits 17th in the standings and outside of the provisional playoff cutoff.

It was an eventful session as many drivers drove off the track, including McMurray, Paul Menard and Casey Mears. The latter was the most dramatic as the Germain Racing veteran drove off into Turn 1 and didn’t turn at all, his splitter picking up a tremendous amount of dirt, as he nursed his car back into the garage area.

Fortunately for he and his team, the car did not suffer much damage and he ended up 21st in the session.

“We made an adjustment in the rear to try to give it more rear grip,” Mears said. “I eased it around the course and figured I’d go around (Turn) 11 and see what it’s got.

“I got to Turn 1 and it wouldn’t turn. It was really really tight. It definitely gained rear grip but it changed the balance of the car.”

The second practice session will take place later on Friday and runs from 6:30 to 7:55 p.m. ET. Qualifying is set for Saturday at 2:15 p.m. The complete results from practice can be viewed below.

  1. Clint Bowyer 95.547  74.979
  2. AJ Allmendinger 95.318  75.159
  3. Sam Hornish Jr 95.092  75.338
  4. Danica Patrick 95.012  75.401
  5. Jamie McMurray 94.940  75.458
  6. David Ragan 94.802  75.568
  7. Greg Biffle 94.781  75.585
  8. Kevin Harvick 94.713  75.639
  9. Kurt Busch 94.554  75.766
  10. Carl Edwards 94.497  75.812
  11. Aric Almirola 94.407  75.884
  12. Kyle Larson 94.195  76.055
  13. Tony Stewart 94.079  76.149
  14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr 94.024  76.193
  15. Jeff Gordon 93.973  76.235
  16. Ryan Newman 93.965  76.241
  17. Michael McDowell 93.957  76.248
  18. Kyle Busch 93.954  76.250
  19. David Gilliland 93.905  76.290
  20. Paul Menard 93.898  76.296
  21. Casey Mears 93.809  76.368
  22. Martin Truex Jr 93.803  76.373
  23. Jimmie Johnson 93.800  76.375
  24. Brad Keselowski 93.799  76.376
  25. Joey Logano 93.797  76.378
  26. Denny Hamlin 93.532  76.594
  27. Matt Kenseth 93.476  76.640
  28. Kasey Kahne 93.432  76.676
  29. Dale Earnhardt Jr 93.290  76.793
  30. Austin Dillon 93.282  76.799
  31. Justin Marks 92.957  77.068
  32. Trevor Bayne 92.757  77.234
  33. Michael Annett 92.589  77.374
  34. Justin Allgaier 92.539  77.416
  35. Cole Whitt 92.206  77.696
  36. Alex Bowman 92.158  77.736
  37. J.J. Yeley 91.992  77.876
  38. Boris Said 91.739  78.091
  39. Alex Kennedy 91.725  78.103
  40. Josh Wise 91.522  78.276
  41. Jeb Burton 91.467  78.323
  42. Matt DiBenedetto 91.306  78.461
  43. Brendan Gaughan 90.636  79.041
  44. Landon Cassill 90.630  79.047

EMAIL MATT AT matt.weaver@popularspeed.com

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By Matt Weaver

Matt Weaver is the Executive Editor of POPULAR SPEED. He has covered NASCAR since 2011 and full-time since 2013. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He has been published all across the country and routinely makes radio appearances on Sirius XM Satellite radio and NBC Sports Radio Network.

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