Jeff Gordon fastest in first Martinsville Sprint Cup practice

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Chase contender and defending Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 champion Jeff Gordon logged the fastest time of Friday’s lone Sprint Cup qualifying session at Martinsville Speedway.

Gordon, an eight-time winner at NASCAR’s shortest track, turned in a lap of 19.079 seconds (99.250 miles per hour) and led a group of four Chasers within the Top 5.

Joey Logano was one one-hundredth of a second off of Gordon in the session with a lap of 19.089 seconds, good for P2. Denny Hamlin, a four-time Martinsville victor, was third-fastest with a time of 19.100 seconds and last week’s winner at Talladega, Brad Keselowski, was fifth on the time sheets (19.114 seconds). The lone non-Chase driver in the Top 5 was Jamie McMurray (19.105 seconds) in fourth.

“I think there’s kind of a difference in short-run speed and long-run speed in race trim,” Hamlin told Fox Sports on how his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota is faring so far. “[We’re] trying to work through some different packages to figure out what that is, [we’re] still digging. We made some improvements with our FedEx Freight Camry, and hopefully, we’ll continue that trend in qualifying.”

That qualifying session comes later this afternoon at 4:40 p.m. ET, and at Martinsville, a critical spot up front on the grid is key to success; the pole position has produced 21 wins at Martinsville, more than any other starting position. Also, more than 70 percent of all Martinsville wins have come from a Top-10 start.

“We really just need a good Top-6 or 7 qualifying effort to get you a good pit stall here,” Hamlin said. “That’s very important, and hopefully, we’re able to do that.”

Among the other Chasers, Matt Kenseth was seventh-fastest, Ryan Newman was 11th-fastest, Carl Edwards was 12th-fastest, and Kevin Harvick was 15th-fastest.


MotoGP points leader Fabio Quartararo scores third win of season

MotoGP Fabio Quartararo
LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images
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Fabio Quartararo won the Catalan Grand Prix, recapturing the MotoGP points lead and his championship momentum Sunday with his third victory of the season.

Quartararo, who opened the season with his first two career victories in the premier series, took his first checkered flag in two months by winning at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya aboard his Petronas Yamaha SRT.

The French rider opened an eight-point lead (108-100) over Joan Mir, who finished second Sunday. Alex Rins was third.

After winning the previous race, Maverick Vinales slipped to 18 points behind Quartararo after a ninth-place finish.

Andrea Dovizioso was the points leader entering the race but crashed his Ducati in the second turn and placed last. Dovizioso fell three spots to fourth in the championship rankings, 24 points behind Fabio Quartararo in MotoGP.