Menard leads final Indy Cup practice; Hamlin in fiery wreck

Paul Menard rocketed to the top of the leaderboard in final NASCAR Cup practice just before Denny Hamlin slammed into the wall.

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Menard leads final Indy Cup practice; Hamlin in fiery wreck

Just as the final 50-minute practice session came to a close at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Saturday afternoon, Menard posted an average lap speed of 185.079 mph to jump to the top of the speed chart.

Moments later, Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota hit the wall in Turn 4 on his cool-down lap and flames immediately began pouring out the back of his car. 

 

It soon came to a rest on the frontstretch, engulfed in fire and smoke and Hamlin quickly exited the car. He was not hurt.

“It was big for sure. It was the last corner and I think the red flag had been out for a minute or so." said Hamlin. "We had just got into turn one when the red went out and we were going to finish our lap. It just blew a right-front. We hadn’t seen any wear issues so we might have run something over or whatever. Definitely got my attention.”

Hamlin’s team will have to go to a backup car, which means he will have to start Sunday’s Brickyard 400 from the rear of the field.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ended up second-fastest (184.151 mph) and Erik Jones – who won last weekend’s race at Darlington, S.C. – was third (183.550 mph). Chris Buescher and Matt DiBenedetto completed the top-five.

Rounding out the top-10 speeds were Daniel Hemric, Kyle Busch, Ryan Preece, Kurt Busch and Joey Logano.

Kurt Busch ended up with the fastest average lap speed among those drivers who completed at least 10 consecutive laps (181.327 mph). Brad Keselowski and William Byron were second and third, respectively, in that category.

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Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 16 48.628     185.079
2 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 15 48.873 0.245 0.245 184.151
3 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 22 49.033 0.405 0.160 183.550
4 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 14 49.077 0.449 0.044 183.385
5 95 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Toyota 18 49.167 0.539 0.090 183.050
6 8 United States Daniel Hemric  Chevrolet 21 49.277 0.649 0.110 182.641
7 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 29 49.294 0.666 0.017 182.578
8 47 United States Ryan Preece  Chevrolet 15 49.309 0.681 0.015 182.522
9 1 United States Kurt Busch  Chevrolet 30 49.346 0.718 0.037 182.386
10 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 34 49.354 0.726 0.008 182.356
11 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 17 49.365 0.737 0.011 182.315
12 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 33 49.366 0.738 0.001 182.312
13 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 30 49.449 0.821 0.083 182.006
14 96 United States Parker Kligerman  Toyota 17 49.468 0.840 0.019 181.936
15 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 23 49.570 0.942 0.102 181.561
16 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 30 49.590 0.962 0.020 181.488
17 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 35 49.595 0.967 0.005 181.470
18 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 22 49.609 0.981 0.014 181.419
19 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 25 49.611 0.983 0.002 181.411
20 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 28 49.641 1.013 0.030 181.302
21 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 25 49.646 1.018 0.005 181.283
22 6 United States Ryan Newman  Ford 15 49.660 1.032 0.014 181.232
23 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 22 49.667 1.039 0.007 181.207
24 19 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 19 49.684 1.056 0.017 181.145
25 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 32 49.715 1.087 0.031 181.032
26 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 31 49.750 1.122 0.035 180.905
27 41 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Ford 32 49.783 1.155 0.033 180.785
28 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 19 49.940 1.312 0.157 180.216
29 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 21 50.081 1.453 0.141 179.709
30 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 25 50.188 1.560 0.107 179.326
31 32 United States Corey Lajoie  Ford 9 50.20 1.572 0.012 179.283
32 36 United States Matt Tifft  Ford 13 50.313 1.685 0.113 178.880
33 51 United States B.J. McLeod  Ford 6 50.732 2.104 0.419 177.403
34 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 14 51.364 2.736 0.632 175.220
35 54 United States J.J. Yeley  Chevrolet 2 51.746 3.118 0.382 173.926
36 52 United States Garrett Smithley  Ford 5 51.826 3.198 0.080 173.658
37 27 United States Ryan Sieg  Chevrolet 13 52.118 3.490 0.292 172.685
38 53 United States Josh Bilicki  Ford 5 52.207 3.579 0.089 172.391

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Indianapolis
Author Jim Utter
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