Jimmie Johnson fastest in final Texas Sprint Cup practice

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Reigning Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson led the way in final practice for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 with a lap of 193.791 mph in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Johnson also claimed the fastest 10-lap average in “Happy Hour” with a run of 188.771 mph over his first 10 laps.

The three-time Texas race winner was followed by Chase driver Ryan Newman in second (193.771), Paul Menard in third (193.597), another Chase driver in Joey Logano (193.396), and last week’s Martinsville winner, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (192.954).

Two more Chasers were among the Top 10, as Carl Edwards was eighth (192.575) and Sunday’s polesitter, Matt Kenseth, was 10th (191.714).

“We’ve gotta keep working on it,” Edwards told Fox Sports. “We did try a lot of stuff. I’m really proud of my guys – they’re able to make it through all sorts of different things. We’ve just gotta be able to make the car balanced in the spots it needs to be.

“…We have a ton of speed. I can go and lay down a super-fast lap. But we’ve just got to keep working on the long runs. That’s what this race is gonna be about tomorrow.”

Kenseth was also searching for an ideal situation with his own car, which he called “kind of a work in progress.”

“We’re not where we need to be for tomorrow, but I feel like we got through a lot of stuff and have a lot of stuff to look at tonight,” he told Fox.

As for the other Chasers: Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick ended the session with the 11th and 12th-fastest laps respectively, while Brad Keselowski was 14th. Rounding out the Eliminator 8 was Chase Grid leader Jeff Gordon in 24th.

The green flag for Sunday’s 334-lap event is slated to fall shortly after 3 p.m. ET.

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES at Texas – Final Practice Times

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.