Saturday morning's opening Winston Cup practice session at Kansas Speedway saw Banquet 400 Bud Pole winner Jimmie Johnson set fastest time for the third straight session before sensationally crashing his primary machine beyond repair.

Johnson toured the 1.5-mile tri-oval in a best time of 30.821secs (175.205mph) shortly before stuffing the front end of his #48 Lowe's Home Improvement Chevrolet into the outside wall in turn two, much like Matt Kenseth did in first practice on Friday. Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports crew had no choice but to go to their backup machine, meaning Johnson will have to start Sunday's 267-lap Banquet 400 from the rear of the field.

Tony Stewart was second quickest on Saturday morning, exactly one-hundredth of a second slower than Johnson in the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet with Bill Elliott third in the best of the Dodge's and Busch Series regular Bobby Hamilton Jr a superb fourth in the #35 Rensi Motorsports Ford.

Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Kansas expert Jason Leffler, Terry Labonte, double KC winner Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick filled out the rest of the top ten.

Dale Earnhardt Jr, who was due to start directly behind Johnson on the inside of row two, will now move up one row into 'pole position' but the driver of the #8 DEI Budweiser Chevrolet was only 30th fastest in practice, well behind outside front row starter Mike Skinner who was 13th fastest in the #01 U.S. Army Pontiac.

Matt Kenseth, who struggled mightily with his back-up machine in qualifying, only made a small jump up the timesheets and was 28th fastest while Michael Waltrip (38th), Mark Martin (39th) and Rusty Wallace (42nd) also had plenty of work to do before Happy Hour.

 

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