Jimmie Johnson led the opening practice session of the Banquet 400 weekend at the Kansas Speedway on Friday morning but while the Hendrick Motorsports' driver was creating the headlines at the top of the charts, it was current points leader Matt Kenseth who found himself making news for all the wrong reasons.

Less than a quarter of the way into the opening practice session of the weekend at the 1.5-mile 'cookie-cutter' tri-oval, Kenseth looped his #17 DeWalt Roush Racing into the turn two wall, forcing his team to go to the back-up machine for the remainder of the weekend.

While Johnson (30.102secs), Rusty Wallace, Jeremy Mayfield and six others all lapped underneath Dale Earnhardt Jr's year-old track record, Kenseth's crew elected not to send their man straight back out in the back-up machine and spent much of the morning putting the engine from the dented primary car into the back-up so Kenseth would not have to start from the back of the field on Sunday. As a result, the current points leader finished up only 42nd fastest.

Jeff Gordon, aiming to stay undefeated at the 1.5-mile KC oval after two straight victories, was fifth fastest while last year's Bud Pole winner Earnhardt Jr was also under his year-old record mark in seventh place on the timesheets.

Ryan Newman, a seven-time Bud Pole winner so far this year and last year's KC runner-up was only 15th fastest, two spots behind last Sunday's EA Sports 500 winner Michael Waltrip.

With passing still expected to be difficult at this early stage in the track's existence, teams know that, unlike last weekend at Talladega, they have to focus strongly on their qualifying trim if they want to stand a realistic chance of winning Sunday's 267-lap race. Joining Kenseth near the bottom of the charts were Larry Foyt (40th), Kenny Wallace (41st), Ricky Craven (42nd), Mike Wallace (43rd) and Derrike Cope (45th).

 

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