Denny Hamlin fastest in race-like final practice at Texas

Denny Hamlin led the way in Saturday’s final NASCAR Cup Series practice session at Texas, the final minutes of which turned into a mini-race.

Denny Hamlin fastest in race-like final practice at Texas

For the final 15 minutes or so of the session, drivers appeared far more comfortable running in a pack, which looked much more like a race than a typical practice session.

Hamlin’s average lap speed of 186.987 mph came later in the session and he topped Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch (186.342 mph) and Ryan Blaney (186.278 mph). Kurt Busch and pole winner Jimmie Johnson completed the top-five.

“I got to thank Matt McCall and everyone on this No. 1 car – every Saturday is better than our Fridays,” Kurt Busch said. “The track compound is coming in as more cars run in it and (Turns) 3 and 4 are just wide-open. I think the race will be run in Turns 1 and 2.”

Rounding out the Top 10 were Daniel Hemric, Kyle Larson, Paul Menard, Kevin Harvick and Bubba Wallace.

Johnson had the fastest average lap speed (184.366) among those driver who ran at least 10 consecutive laps. Kurt Busch and Larson were second and third, respectively, in that category.

Three minutes into the session a caution was displayed for fluid on the backstretch. The fluid may have been from the power steering from Alex Bowman’s No. 88 Chevrolet.

Erik Jones had to sit out the final 15 minutes of the session after his No. 20 Toyota failed pre-qualifying inspection twice on Friday.

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Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 42 28.879     186.987
2 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 31 28.979 0.100 0.100 186.342
3 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 32 28.989 0.110 0.010 186.278
4 1 United States Kurt Busch  Chevrolet 41 29.018 0.139 0.029 186.091
5 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 40 29.025 0.146 0.007 186.047
6 8 United States Daniel Hemric  Chevrolet 39 29.059 0.180 0.034 185.829
7 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 47 29.070 0.191 0.011 185.759
8 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 45 29.074 0.195 0.004 185.733
9 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 54 29.093 0.214 0.019 185.612
10 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 52 29.100 0.221 0.007 185.567
11 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 32 29.134 0.255 0.034 185.350
12 41 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Ford 48 29.137 0.258 0.003 185.331
13 47 United States Ryan Preece  Chevrolet 42 29.154 0.275 0.017 185.223
14 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 36 29.170 0.291 0.016 185.122
15 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 55 29.182 0.303 0.012 185.046
16 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 40 29.190 0.311 0.008 184.995
17 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 49 29.191 0.312 0.001 184.989
18 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 47 29.220 0.341 0.029 184.805
19 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 43 29.248 0.369 0.028 184.628
20 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 37 29.256 0.377 0.008 184.578
21 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 41 29.260 0.381 0.004 184.552
22 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 30 29.260 0.381 0.000 184.552
23 96 United States Parker Kligerman  Toyota 34 29.271 0.392 0.011 184.483
24 19 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 37 29.272 0.393 0.001 184.477
25 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 49 29.273 0.394 0.001 184.470
26 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 43 29.277 0.398 0.004 184.445
27 36 United States Matt Tifft  Ford 31 29.323 0.444 0.046 184.156
28 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 42 29.326 0.447 0.003 184.137
29 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 41 29.336 0.457 0.010 184.074
30 6 United States Ryan Newman  Ford 38 29.391 0.512 0.055 183.730
31 95 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Toyota 54 29.394 0.515 0.003 183.711
32 32 United States Corey Lajoie  Ford 26 29.406 0.527 0.012 183.636
33 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 28 29.754 0.875 0.348 181.488
34 00 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 19 29.862 0.983 0.108 180.832
35 52 Bayley Currey  Chevrolet 13 29.933 1.054 0.071 180.403
36 51 United States B.J. McLeod  Ford 9 30.064 1.185 0.131 179.617
37 27 United States Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 9 30.112 1.233 0.048 179.330
38 77 United States Garrett Smithley  Chevrolet 5 30.525 1.646 0.413 176.904
39 66 United States Timmy Hill  Toyota 10 31.028 2.149 0.503 174.036
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Drivers react to 'frustrating' Texas qualifying: "I just laughed"

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Series NASCAR Cup
Event Texas
Author Jim Utter
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