Earnhardt fastest in Saturday morning practice

MARTINSVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 31: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 31, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
MARTINSVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 31:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 31, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
MARTINSVILLE, VA – OCTOBER 31: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 31, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. did yeoman work in Saturday morning’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session at Martinsville Speedway, running 75 laps in the 55-minute session—more than any other driver.

The defending winner of the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 also was fastest in the session, posting a lap at 96.998 mph to edge Martin Truex Jr. (96.879 mph) for the top spot on the speed chart.

Despite complaining that the splitter on his No. 88 Chevrolet was contacting the pavement during final practice, Earnhardt was fifth fastest during Happy Hour, with teammate Jimmie Johnson leading the practice at 97.108 mph.

An eight-time Martinsville winner, Johnson also led the field in average speeds over five-, 10- and 15-lap runs in final practice.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.