The last time Jimmie Johnson was at Kansas Speedway, he won a NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
And if Friday’s Happy Hour practice was any indication, the other 42 drivers who will compete in Sunday’s STP 400 have cause for concern that they may be in for deja vu all over again.
Johnson, the five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, dusted the competition in Happy Hour, lapping the 1.5-mile track at 174.955 miles per hour in his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. His former teammate, Mark Martin, was second fast at 174.317 mph in his Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. Then came Martin’s current MWR teammate, Martin Truex Jr., followed by points leader Greg Biffle’s No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford and Denny Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
Sixth through eighth were the Penske Racing Dodges of Brad Keselowski, Sam Hornish Jr. and AJ Allmendinger, followed by Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick.
That Johnson was fast on Friday was not a surprise. In 11 prior starts at Kansas, Johnson has two race victories, three poles, four top fives and nine top 10s.
This weekend, in honor of Earth Day, Johnson’s car is trimmed out in a special color called “Mountain Green,” which was only available on Chevrolets made in 1967.
“I know we have some muscle car fans out there,” said Johnson. “I’m sure there are quite a few people who still have this color car. I think it’s a cool way for us to connect with those fans. I commend Lowe’s for doing something that highlights our history with cars and specifically Chevrolet.”
Qualifying takes place tomorrow at noon and will be televised live on SPEED.
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100.