Denny Hamlin tops first Talladega practice at nearly 205 mph

Denny Hamlin topped Friday’s first NASCAR Cup Series practice session at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and the only driver to top 204 mph.

Denny Hamlin tops first Talladega practice at nearly 205 mph

While drafting late in the 50-minute session, Hamlin posted an average lap speed of 204.904 mph to lead the first practice. Kevin Harvick was second (203.688 mph) and Kyle Busch was third (203.684 mph).

Corey LaJoie was fourth and Michael McDowell completed the top-five.

Rounding out the top-10 average speeds were Erik Jones, Ross Chastain, Brendan Gaughan, Chris Buescher and Matt DiBenedetto.

In all, the top 33 cars posted an average speed better than 200 mph, with the top seven better than 203 mph.

Less than 10 minutes into the session, Kyle Busch’s team pulled his No. 18 Toyota out of line on pit road and pushed it back to the garage with what his team believed was a fuel pressure issue. He had not yet turned a lap on the track.

Busch finally was able to get on track about 17 minutes into the session.

With about 15 minutes remaining in the session, a caution was displayed for debris on the track. Daniel Hemric appeared to cut a tire from running over the debris.

Four drivers had to sit out the final 15 minutes of the session. Chase Elliott, William Byron and Ryan Preece for being late out of the garage for inspection and Martin Truex Jr. for failing pre-race inspection twice last weekend.

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