Aric Almirola tops Friday's first Cup practice at Vegas

Aric Almirola led the way in Friday’s first NASCAR Cup Series practice session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Aric Almirola tops Friday's first Cup practice at Vegas

Almirola, who has finished in the top-10 three of the four races at Vegas since joining Stewart-Haas Racing, posted an average lap speed of 178.654 mph late in the session to top the speed chart.

“I’m looking forward to Vegas,” Almirola said. “It will be a great chance to grow together with (crew chief Mike Bugarewicz) and the new team to dial in communication and get on the same page.

“We already learned a lot during Daytona Speedweeks and I’m really looking forward to seeing where we are competitively.”

Almirola’s SHR teammate, Clint Bowyer, ended up second (178.383 mph) while Ty Dillon was third and the top Chevrolet (178.071 mph). Joey Logano was fourth and Alex Bowman completed the top-five.

Rounding out the top-10 speeds were Matt DiBenedetto, Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney.

Martin Truex Jr. was the top Toyota in the session and ended up 13th-fastest.

The Toyotas of Denny Hamlin, Truex, Erik Jones, Kyle Busch and Christopher Bell were docked 15 minutes of practice for making alterations to the manufacturer-designed shape of their cars’ fenders. The issue was discovered during Friday morning’s inspection.

Hamlin and Brennan Poole lost an additional 15 minutes of practice due to pre-race inspection issues at last weekend’s Daytona 500.

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Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 10 United States Aric Almirola Ford 29 30.226     178.654
2 14 United States Clint Bowyer Ford 21 30.272 0.046 0.046 178.383
3 13 United States Ty Dillon Chevrolet 28 30.325 0.099 0.053 178.071
4 22 United States Joey Logano Ford 32 30.330 0.104 0.005 178.042
5 88 United States Alex Bowman Chevrolet 37 30.400 0.174 0.070 177.632
6 21 United States Matt DiBenedetto Ford 25 30.424 0.198 0.024 177.491
7 1 United States Kurt Busch Chevrolet 27 30.470 0.244 0.046 177.223
8 9 United States Chase Elliott Chevrolet 27 30.475 0.249 0.005 177.194
9 42 United States Kyle Larson Chevrolet 24 30.480 0.254 0.005 177.165
10 12 United States Ryan Blaney Ford 30 30.512 0.286 0.032 176.980
11 24 United States William Byron Chevrolet 26 30.540 0.314 0.028 176.817
12 4 United States Kevin Harvick Ford 29 30.562 0.336 0.022 176.690
13 41 United States Cole Custer Ford 27 30.604 0.378 0.042 176.448
14 19 United States Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 25 30.604 0.378 0.000 176.448
15 18 United States Kyle Busch Toyota 19 30.616 0.390 0.012 176.378
16 48 United States Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 33 30.627 0.401 0.011 176.315
17 2 United States Brad Keselowski Ford 32 30.677 0.451 0.050 176.028
18 6 United States Ross Chastain Ford 28 30.678 0.452 0.001 176.022
19 8 United States Tyler Reddick Chevrolet 38 30.711 0.485 0.033 175.833
20 20 United States Erik Jones Toyota 19 30.720 0.494 0.009 175.781
21 38 United States John Hunter Nemechek Ford 23 30.758 0.532 0.038 175.564
22 17 United States Chris Buescher Ford 26 30.796 0.570 0.038 175.347
23 47 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevrolet 25 30.813 0.587 0.017 175.251
24 3 United States Austin Dillon Chevrolet 37 30.824 0.598 0.011 175.188
25 11 United States Denny Hamlin Toyota 17 30.836 0.610 0.012 175.120
26 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr. Chevrolet 27 30.852 0.626 0.016 175.029
27 95 United States Christopher Bell Toyota 17 30.903 0.677 0.051 174.740
28 34 United States Michael McDowell Ford 21 30.932 0.706 0.029 174.576
29 37 United States Ryan Preece Chevrolet 19 30.985 0.759 0.053 174.278
30 96 Mexico Daniel Suarez Toyota 21 31.153 0.927 0.168 173.338
31 15 United States Brennan Poole Chevrolet 11 31.460 1.234 0.307 171.647
32 32 United States Corey Lajoie Ford 23 31.469 1.243 0.009 171.597
33 52 United States J.J. Yeley Ford 4 31.633 1.407 0.164 170.708
34 00 United States Quin Houff Chevrolet 15 31.864 1.638 0.231 169.470
35 53 United States Joey Gase Ford 19 32.080 1.854 0.216 168.329
36 77 United States Reed Sorenson Chevrolet 3 32.085 1.859 0.005 168.303
37 51 United States Garrett Smithley Ford 1 32.751 2.525 0.666 164.880
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