Kurt Busch tops 200 mph in first Sprint Unlimited practice

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After an off-season that has made his private life all too public, Kurt Busch found refuge in his race car Friday during the first of two practices for Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited.

Boy, did Busch ever find refuge, becoming the first and only driver to top 200 mph in any one lap, with a top speed of 200.749 mph.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was equally a surprise, having the second-fastest speed, just a hair under 200 mph at 199.769 mph.

Defending Sprint Cup champ Kevin Harvick was third-fastest at 199.075 mph, followed by Joey Logano (197.928), Kasey Kahne (197.824), Jeff Gordon (197.737), Jamie McMurray (197.637), Matt Kenseth (197.594), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (197.433) and making his debut for Joe Gibbs Racing, Carl Edwards at 197.062.

Two drivers that went out to practice by themselves saw slower speeds because they didn’t have a pack to work with: Six-time Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson was 24th-fastest  (191.853) and 2012 Cup champ Brad Keselowski was the slowest in the overall field (191.734).

Also from NASCAR Talk’s Dustin Long: NASCAR said three drivers did not take part in driver weigh-in before getting in their car for the first practice. Denny Hamlin was called back in before he got on the track, Clint Bowyer was on-track and called back in, and Tony Stewart was black-flagged to return for the weigh-in.

NASCAR did not penalize Stewart further for missing the weigh-in, but the three-time series champion wasn’t pleased.

The second Sprint Unlimited practice will begin at 6:30 pm ET and go to 7:25 pm ET.

Here’s the first practice speed chart:

1 Kurt Busch 200.749 mph

2 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 199.769

3 Kevin Harvick 199.075

4 Joey Logano 197.928

5 Kasey Kahne 197.824

6 Jeff Gordon 197.737

7 Jamie McMurray 197.637

8 Matt Kenseth 197.594

9 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 197.433

10 Carl Edwards 197.062

11 Danica Patrick 197.036

12 Tony Stewart 197.807

13 Aric Almirola 196.721

14 Clint Bowyer 196.155

15 Kyle Larson 195.639

16 Greg Biffle 195.283

17 Austin Dillon 195.177

18 Martin Truex Jr. 195.164

19 Ryan Newman 195.156

20 Kyle Busch 195.122

21 Casey Mears 195.067

22 Paul Menard 194.949

23 Denny Hamlin 194.868

24 Jimmie Johnson 191.853

25 Brad Keselowski 191.734

Follow @JerryBonkowski