The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is back on track at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The pre-race preparations for Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600 (FOX, 5:30 p.m. ET) began in earnest Thursday afternoon with an 85-minute practice session at CMS.
And when it ended, a familiar name was atop the leader board. Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR champ, paced the field with a lap 0f 192.843 miles per hour in the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet.
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That was tops among the 40 drivers entered.
Jimmie Johnson, who leads active drivers with seven Charlotte victories, was second fast at 191.252 mph in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
Carl Edwards was third, followed by 2014 champion Kevin Harvick and the suddenly fast Kyle Larson.
Johnson will be looking to rebound from a disappointing All-Star weekend.
"Last weekend's All-Star event was in essence a test for this weekend," said Johnson's crew chief Chad Knaus. "We learned some important things about tire fall off even though we didn't get a ton of practice. The 600-miler is a tough, tough race and it takes a lot of patience and some endurance on everyone's part to be there at the end."
Harvick comes into the 13th of 26 races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular season as the points leader, ahead of brothers Kyle (-21) and Kurt Busch (-32).
Qualifying for NASCAR's longest race is tonight, with television coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET on FS1.
Check out complete results from Thursday's practice below: