Jeff Gordon brings the heat in Happy Hour at Michigan

Kyle Larson shows speed in short and long runs in the final practice.

Jeff Gordon brings the heat in Happy Hour at Michigan
Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet and Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

After frustration got the best of Jeff Gordon at Pocono Raceway last weekend, the driver found the speed he was missing during Happy Hour at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday

Gordon led the final practice session for the Quicken Loans 400 with a lap of 198.604 mph. He was second overall with the Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average (196.84 mph).

"We had a car far better than what we finished," said Gordon, who qualified fourth but finished 14th. "I would say a little bit of build up with the type of season that we have had so far.  It seems like every time we have a car that is capable of either winning or running in the top five some circumstances come about that take us kind of out of that.  That is frustrating.  

"But it is all good.  We are big boys.  We respect the heck out of one another and we had great conversations this week.  I think it’s actually been more positive that we kind of got that out there and had this heated moment.  And said some things and got them off our chest.  I think it has actually helped us come into this weekend focused, motivated and excited.”

Gordon has three wins at Michigan - including from the pole here last August.

Kyle Busch was second quick (198.671 mph) in Happy Hour followed by Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick rounded. 

Young Money

Larson was speedy in both sessions had the Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average (196.911 mph) in final practice. He ran third (199.989 mph) in the morning and 198.495 mph in Happy Hour. 

"Pretty good I thought,” Larson radioed to the crew. “It was also pretty decent in traffic.”

After running 34 laps, crew chief Chris Heroy asked Larson how much he wanted the team to tighten up the No. 42 Chevy to which the driver replied, ”I would say at least as much as the last Michigan here."

The best of the rest

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was sixth fastest with a speed of 198.331 mph, on his 24th lap of 31 circuits. Although the team worked to improve the feel of the No. 88 Amp Energy Chevy through Turns 3 and 4, but Earnhardt said the car still felt “really edgy”.

“It worked,” Earnhardt said of the adjustment the team made to his car, “but it was more than I need.”

Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin accounted for remaining top 10 on the speed chart. However, Hamlin posted his lap of 197.846 mph in the first 15 minutes of the session prior to losing control of the No. 11 Fed Ex Toyota in Turn. 

Crew chief Dave Rogers asked Hamlin if he cut a tire, but the driver replied, “No sir.”

"Just unpredictability,” Hamlin said. “Was just trying to keep the splitter out of the grass." 

The team initially considered pulling out the backup car, but since Hamlin qualified 13th Rogers elected to make repairs rather than sacrifice track position on Sunday. Still, Hamlin sustained damage to the right-front wheel well and the crew used up the remainder of the hour-long session on repairs to the car.

shares
comments
Kevin Harvick continues to show the way
Previous article

Kevin Harvick continues to show the way

Next article

NASCAR notebook, Michigan: Kahne says qualifying tougher

NASCAR notebook, Michigan: Kahne says qualifying tougher
Load comments
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Prime

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, but his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines...

NASCAR Cup
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Prime

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organization - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR Cup
Aug 31, 2021
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021