Matt Kenseth Wins Texas Happy Hour, Looks to Carry Momentum into Sunday's Race

Paul CarreauAnalyst INovember 2, 2013

Matt Kenseth ran the fastest lap during Saturday's Happy Hour practice.
Matt Kenseth ran the fastest lap during Saturday's Happy Hour practice.Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The drivers of NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series participated in two practice sessions on Saturday, in preparation for Sunday's AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

During Happy Hour, Matt Kenseth, the driver currently tied for the lead in the series standings, posted the fastest time of the session. He ran his fastest lap in 28.506 seconds at a speed of 189.434 miles per hour, according to the time chart obtained by

Jimmie Johnson, the other driver at the top of the standings, finished 16th in the final practice session. 

The two drivers finished first and third, respectively, on the 10-lap average speed chart. 

When Sunday's green flag waves, the top-two championship contenders will start just one row apart from one another. Johnson is starting on the inside of row two in third place, while Kenseth qualified on the outside of the third row, sixth place overall.

Both drivers enter Texas as two-time winners at the mile-and-a-half facility. Kenseth won the spring race in 2002 and 2011, while Johnson was a winner in the fall of 2007 and won this race one year ago.

Behind Kenseth on the speed chart were Brad Keselowski, who ran a lap identical to Kenseth's, Paul Menard, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., rounding out the top five in the 50-minute practice.

Jeff Gordon, the most recent Sprint Cup Series winner and third-place driver in the standings, was seventh fastest in the session. Kevin Harvick, fourth in the standings, was 20th during Happy Hour. That was faster than only one other Chase driver.

Forty-two cars took advantage of the Saturday afternoon practice session. Only Joe Nemechek elected not to use the track time.

Saturday's two test periods were the last time the cars and drivers will see the track prior to Sunday's event.

This race is the eighth race in the 10-week Chase for the Championship. The green flag for the AAA Texas 500 will wave at 3:00 p.m. ET.