Jimmie Johnson is at it again. During the final practice sessions for Saturday night’s NASCAR Banking 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Johnson set a blistering pace that no other driver had an answer for.
During the first session, Johnson wasn’t just good, he was off the charts good. His early lap of 187.162 mph was almost 2 mph faster than the second best time of teammate Mark Martin. That kind of speed differential rarely happens and is something he didn’t even do when he won an unprecedented five of six Charlotte races from off 2002 to 2005.
Greg Biffle was one of the drivers who was trying to keep pace with Johnson during the session - and did a decent job with the third best speed, noted that Johnson was just too quick in and out of turns three and four.
During Happy Hour, Johnson was just as good with the fastest lap of 185.478 mph early in the session followed once again by Martin with the second quickest lap. In just about all fazes of practice, Johnson dominated the day including having the best 10-lap average.
The chassis Johnson brought this week was the same one he led 17 laps with in Atlanta six weeks ago before having rear-end problems and finishing 36th. In the primary practice using race trim, Johnson was also fastest then and not so coincidentally, Martin was the second fastest then too, but not by such a wide margin.
Johnson’s dominance didn’t extend to just Friday. He was fastest in limited practice Thursday night just before qualifying. where he won the pole too. In what may be the most dominant display of consistency by two teammates, Mark Martin finished second fastest in every session including sitting on the front row with Jimmie. This is only the second time all season that one driver has lead all three practice sessions, and definitely a first for a 1-2 exacta.