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Press Snoop: JPM fastest, Hendrick duo back out.

by Lynne Huntting


Rookie JUAN PABLO MONTOYA/#42 Dodge was fastest in Saturday morning NASCAR Nextel Cup practice at warm and sunny Infineon Raceway in Sonoma CA. His time was 77.951/92.330 mph

Second was KEVIN HARVICK/#29 Chevrolet.

Third fastest was JEFF GORDON/#24 Chevrolet, who was on course for the first time this weekend. It took him seven laps to be fastest, before his time was eclipsed by Harvick and then Montoya. Gordon's time was 77.803/92.079 mph.

NASCAR issued Tech Stickers to both Gordon and his Hendrick Motorsport team-mate, JIMMIE JOHNSON/#48 Chevrolet Saturday morning and said they were eligible to participate in Saturday's track activities. They were banned Friday from any on-track activities after failing tech for illegal front fenders on their new Car of Tomorrow Chevrolets. Further penalties are expected Monday or Tuesday. They will start from the back of the pack for Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 race. Johnson was sixteenth fastest in the 50-minute session.

Fourth and fifth fastest were TONY STEWART/#20 Chevrolet and RON FELLOWS/#96 Chevrolet, one of several road racing specialists in the race.

There were several red flags during the early morning session, for spins or stalls including the wild spin and great save of MARC GOOSSENS/#91 Toyota, and JEFF GREEN/#66 Chevrolet who stopped at pit entrance and BORIS SAID/#60 Ford stalled in Turn Eleven.

All 43 drivers for Sunday's race were on track.

Four Cup drivers are also competing in the Blue Lizard Sun Cream 200 NASCAR Grand National Division West Series race Saturday afternoon - Said, DAVID GILLILAND, P.J. JONES, and REGAN SMITH, West Qualifying immediately followed the Saturday Cup practice. Said was fastest in the first Friday practice, out of 40 entries, and skipped the second practice to concentrate on Cup Qualifying. He starts fourth Sunday in the Cup race.

The list of drivers flying back to Milwaukee after Cup Happy Hour early Saturday afternoon just got shorter. DAVE BLANEY/#22 Toyota is skipping the Busch Series race to concentrate on his Cup race. He starts nineteenth Sunday. His Busch ride will be handled by TODD BODINE, who is already in Milwaukee after finishing third Friday night in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race.

Rookie DAVID RAGAN/#6 Ford is one of the several drivers flying back with JACK ROUSH in his jet - literally. Roush is piloting the plane to Milwaukee. Ragan thought another pilot might fly it back after the long day. Among the five or six passengers are CARL EDWARDS/#99 Ford, another Roush driver, who is currently leading the Busch Series standings. When not NASCAR racing or hanging out at the Roush-Fenway Racing shop, Ragan has his own shop where he works on his own Legends car. If it weren't for the conflicting Busch race this weekend, Ragan would have run the Legends race which is the support race for this Infineon NASCAR weekend.


Related Pictures

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Juan Pablo Montoya - Texaco Havoline Ganassi Dodge   [pic credit: image.net]
Jeff Gordon - DuPont Chevrolet   [pic credit: image.net]
Jimmie Johnson - Kobalt/Lowe`s Chevrolet  [pic credit: image.net]
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, speaks during a press conference prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenal Ford, climbs out of his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 8, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, talks to his crew chief, Paul Wolfe, after failing to advance to the championship round of the Chase for the Spring Cup after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/ Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, speaks to the media during a press conference after failing to advance to race for the championship in the season finale after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 8, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/ Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finished in 11th place Sunday, November 9, 2014 in the final Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Newman advances to the Championship 4 finale next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida.(Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finished in 2nd place Sunday, November 9, 2014 in the final Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Gordon just missed out being in the Championship 4 finale next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, races to victory November 9, 2014 in the final Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Harvick advances to the Championship 4 finale next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory with his wife, DeLana, Sunday, November 9, 2014 in the final Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Harvick advances to the Championship 4 finale next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, leads Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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