CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Things continue to go right for Joey Logano. The same can’t be said for Jimmie Johnson.
Logano recorded the fastest lap in final practice Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, while Johnson hit the wall late in the session — another setback for the six-time Sprint Cup champion.
Logano, who has already advanced to the third round of the Chase by virtue of his win Sunday at Kansas, ran a lap of 190.597 mph. He will start 13th for Saturday night’s race.
Logano downplayed his success, saying “it’s just one lap.”
Johnson enters the weekend under quite a bit more pressure than Logano.
Johnson is 12th in the Chase field after finishing 40th last week at Kansas. The tough luck continued Thursday night when he qualified 21st at Charlotte.
The defending Cup champion ran 63 laps in practice Friday night looking for the right setup in his No. 48 Chevrolet. However, two laps before he was ready to call it a night, Johnson hit the wall causing mostly cosmetic damage to his car.
“The good news is it is just a big scratch on the side of the car,” Johnson said. “Nothing is bent. It’s just a little drama.”
Johnson didn’t seem worried that it will affect his chances of running well, saying “our car is really, really strong.”
Johnson won at Charlotte in May.
Kurt Busch had the second-fastest lap in practice, while Chase contenders Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was 14th fastest in practice, will start ninth at Charlotte.
Ryan Newman was the slowest of the Chase contenders, turning the 20th fastest lap.
Earnhardt, who was 39th at Kansas, and Johnson are in need of strong showings the next two races at Charlotte and Talladega. Four drivers will be cut from the 12-driver field after Talladega.
For Logano, things just seem to be clicking, even though he wasn’t completely satisfied with his effort in practice.
“I don’t think we’re that bad,” Logano said. “We’re trying to get the balance a little better.”
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