Commentary

Texas advantage goes to Johnson after Happy Hour practice

After Happy Hour Saturday, it's advantage Johnson. Jimmie Johnson topped the speed chart in the final practice session before Sunday's Dickies 500, a whopping 30 spots ahead of Jeff Gordon, writes Terry Blount.

Updated: November 3, 2007, 6:14 PM ET
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

FORT WORTH, Texas -- After Happy Hour Saturday, it's advantage Johnson.

Jimmie Johnson topped the speed chart in the final practice session before Sunday's Dickies 500, a whopping 30 spots ahead of Jeff Gordon.

Gordon wasn't pleased with his No. 24 Chevy, posting a best lap of 181.935 mph. Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet turned a lap at 186.981 mph on the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway oval.

Gordon has a slight advantage at the green flag, starting on the outside of Row 1. Johnson starts three rows behind him. Gordon, who has a nine-point lead over Johnson, hopes to lead a lap early and get the five bonus points.

Johnson holds the advantage for results at TMS. Johnson's 10.25 average finish is the best of any driver who has at least eight Cup starts at Texas.

Gordon's average TMS finish of 15.8 isn't bad, but it's one spot from the bottom on his list. Lowe's Motor Speedway is the only track where Gordon has a worse average (16.8) finish than Texas.

But average finish can be misleading. Gordon was leading the spring race at TMS when he brushed the wall coming out of Turn 4 with 23 laps to go. He finished ninth.

Johnson was involved in an accident at TMS in April and finished 38th, the first time he had finished worse than 11th at Texas.

Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. He can be reached at terry@blountspeak.com.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter

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