Truex fastest in final Cup practice; Keselowski and Byron tangle
Martin Truex Jr. was fastest in Thursday’s final NASCAR Cup Series practice which was highlighted by an incident between Brad Keselowski and William Byron.
Truex led the way with an average lap speed of 206.936 mph in the final session – one of six drivers to post average lap speeds in excess of 206 mph.
Truex’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin was second (206.738 mph) and Erik Jones was third (206.724 mph). Matt DiBenedetto and Matt Tifft rounded out the top-five.
About 28 minutes into the session, Byron was leading a small pack of cars on the track when Keselowski drove up behind him, hit him twice and sent Byron spinning off the track.
Byron was able to collect his No. 24 Chevrolet and prevent it from turning back up the track, but it did suffer significant damage to the right-rear. The team finally decided to move to a backup and he will have to start Saturday night’s race from the rear of the field.
Sending a message
In the garage after he finished practice, Keselowski said he was “sending a message.”
“I hate it for his team that they have to work on their car and so does ours but just trying to send a message that I’m not lifting,” he said. “I’m tired of getting wrecked at plate tracks. I’ve been wrecked out of four of the last five races quite honestly because I’ve let people pull moves on me like that.
“They’re all watching now.”
Asked for his take after the incident, Byron said, “I mean it’s practice, you know I get it but I don’t think that was really necessary to turn us there. … I really expect that, that’s alright. It’s not like I changed four lanes down the backstretch and blocked him. I was just kind of holding my lane and he just used his run to drive into my left rear. That’s alright at least I saved it.”
Rounding out the top-10 in practice were Parker Kligerman, Clint Bowyer, Bubba Wallace, Daniel Hemric and Ty Dillon.
Kyle Busch was fastest in Thursday’s first practice session.
|1||19||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||17||43.703||205.936|
|8||43||Darrell Wallace Jr.||Chevrolet||27||44.121||0.418||0.079||203.984|
|31||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||13||45.837||2.134||0.135||196.348|
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