NASCAR & Auto Racing

Defending Cup champ looking for answers in California testing so far

Things have gone so well for Jimmie Johnson in the past two NASCAR seasons, it’s news when he and his team struggles even a little bit.

Johnson’s No. 48A Chevrolet was only 38th fastest at 177.940 mph Thursday morning in the first of three sessions on a busy day of testing for Sprint Cup Series cars at California Speedway.

“We haven’t had any fun yet,” Johnson said at the midday break. “It has been a pain in the butt. It’s not driving worth a (darn). If I had the answer, we’d fix it.The car has had a major push in it.”

Johnson gained a bit of speed in the afternoon session, running 178.483 mph.

Denny Hamlin’s speed of 182.523 mph in the early session was the fastest lap in the first two sessions, followed by Ryan Newman at 181.511 mph, Kyle Busch at 181.470 mph and Mark Martin at 181.456 mph.

Three sessions, including one under the lights, were scheduled for Thursday at the 2-mile track.

Two more sessions will be held Friday. Each team can pick any four of the five sessions in which to participate.

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