Kyle Larson tops final practice at Kentucky
Chip Ganassi Racing was the class of the field for both Monster Energy Cup Series practices on Friday.
After Jamie McMurray posted the top lap in first practice at Kentucky Speedway, Kyle Larson ran the fast lap in Happy Hour — 188.186mph.
“It’s always a little hard to get back to tracks where were we only race once a year, but fortunately my teammate, Jamie McMurray, had a good test at Kentucky a few months ago,” said Larson, who completed a tour-high 41 laps during the session. “That test should give our team some current info to help with setup…Kentucky is definitely a tough track with some challenging banking, but a cool place to race. I hope we can continue our solid runs and contend for a win this weekend.”
Martin Truex Jr. was second quick followed by Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, McMurray, Bubba Wallace and Clint Bowyer.
McMurray established the early quick speed in final practice with a top lap of 181.867mph after five circuits. After 10 minutes, Elliott jumped to the top of the speed chart with a lap of 183.499mph followed by his Hendrick teammate Johnson and the Hendrick-powered Larson. Daniel Suarez, Blaney, McMurray, Joey Logano, Bowyer, AJ Allmendinger and Chris Buescher rounded out the top 10.
After being held for 15 minutes of practice for failing inspection at Daytona, Brad Keselowski, Trevor Bayne, Kurt Busch, Bubba Wallace, Cole Whitt and Ryan Sieg were released. Elliott remained on top, Suarez moved to second followed by Johnson, Larson, Keselowski, Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Mcmurray, Bowyer and Logano rounded out the top 10.
Bubba Wallace vaulted to P1 with a lap of 184.395mph in his first lap of a qualifying run. He told TV this was his last race of the year — with the recovering Aric Almirola expected to return to the seat of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“Being on top of the board for practice is a first for me,” Wallace said. “We’re trying to get the top starting spot for Ford.”
Elliott dropped to second followed by Hamlin, Suarez, Johnson, Larson, McMurray, Keselowski, Blaney and Kurt Busch. NASCAR freed the second round of practice holds after 30-minutes. Kyle Busch, Erik Jones and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., hit the track. Truex was let go five minutes later.
Kyle Busch bumped Wallace with a lap of 185.573mph. Jones’s first lap was good for third (183.524mph) then Truex vaulted to second on his first lap (184.716mph) and knocked Jones to fourth. Stenhouse completed his Q-run and seized second-place on the speed chart at the 40-minute mark. Four minutes later, NASCAR finally allowed Matt Kenseth to leave pit road. Kenseth posted the fifth-fastest speed in his mock qualifying run.
After 50 minutes, Kyle Busch held the top speed followed by Stenhouse, Truex, Wallace, Kenseth, Johnson, Jones, Elliott, Hamlin and Larson. Larson’s 37 laps were the most completed. Blaney shot to the top two minutes later on his 23rd lap. Bowyer claimed on his Q-run.
Before the 55-minute mark, Johnson topped Blaney. Truex then bumped Johnson. Kyle Busch moved to second at the one-hour mark. Johnson, Kenseth and Blaney held onto the top-five single lap speeds. Moments later, Elliott ran the seventh-fastest lap — 185.675mph.
(Turns) 1 and 2 were pretty good,” Elliott said. “A tick free going into (turn) 3.”
At one hour, 10 minutes into final practice, Larson bounced up to P1 with a single-lap run of 188.186mph. Seventy-five minutes in, Truex returned to second. Elliott, Blaney and Kyle Busch held onto the top five.
Larson also topped the Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average category with a speed of 181.516mph. Johnson, Keselowski, Elliott, Blaney, Suarez, Michael McDowell, McMurray, Kurt Busch and Logano rounded out the top 10.
|2||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||9||28.848||0.153||0.153||187.188|
|9||43||Darrell Wallace Jr.||Ford||8||29.042||0.347||0.024||185.938|
|12||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||6||29.128||0.433||0.015||185.389|
|25||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||49||29.591||0.896||0.026||182.488|
McMurray tops first NASCAR Cup practice at Kentucky
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