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Stewart-Haas Racing's Fords lead Saturday's first Cup practice

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Stewart-Haas Racing's Fords lead Saturday's first Cup practice
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Mar 23, 2019, 2:38 PM

Stewart-Haas Racing teammates swept the top three positions in Saturday’s first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

Clint Bowyer, who won this race one year ago, led the way in the 50-minute practice session with an average lap speed of 97.673 mph.

Not far behind were his SHR teammates Daniel Suarez (97.257 mph) and Aric Almirola (97.003 mph). Martin Truex Jr. was fourth and last weekend’s race winner, Kyle Busch, completed the top-five.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Brad Keselowski, Chris Buescher, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott.

SHR’s fourth driver, Kevin Harvick, ended up 11th-fastest.

“You know I make fun of these other drivers sometimes for having tears in Victory Lane, but I’ve got to admit that moment got to me,” said Bowyer about his celebration with his young son, Cash, after the win last year.

“Cash is young enough that he had never been to Victory Lane before, so it was his first chance to be there. That’s something I always wanted to make happen.”

Kyle Busch had the fastest average lap speed (96.642 mph) among those drivers who ran at least 10 consecutive laps. Almirola and Truex were second and third, respectively, in that category.

Within the first two minutes of practice, William Byron appeared to have an issue with the right-front tire and tagged wall coming off Turn 2. He immediately took his No. 24 Chevrolet to the garage for repairs.

 

Almost 20 minutes into the session, Corey LaJoie got into the wall in between Turns 1 and 2 and did extensive damage to the right-side of his No. 32 Ford. The will move to a backup car which means LaJoie will have to start Sunday’s race from the rear of the field.

“That just sucks because we were making it really good,” LaJoie said. “I think we were 20th at the time, but I’ll tell you there is no coffee strong enough that will wake you up losing brakes into Turn 1 at Martinsville.”

Michael McDowell had to sit out the final 15 minutes of the practice session after his No. 34 failed pre-race inspection at Auto Club Speedway multiple times.

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 49 19.387     97.674
2 41 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Ford 20 19.470 0.083 0.083 97.257
3 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 43 19.521 0.134 0.051 97.003
4 19 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 45 19.534 0.147 0.013 96.939
5 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 51 19.545 0.158 0.011 96.884
6 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 50 19.576 0.189 0.031 96.731
7 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 43 19.593 0.206 0.017 96.647
8 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 67 19.620 0.233 0.027 96.514
9 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 53 19.634 0.247 0.014 96.445
10 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 62 19.634 0.247 0.000 96.445
11 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 44 19.640 0.253 0.006 96.415
12 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 52 19.641 0.254 0.001 96.411
13 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 55 19.668 0.281 0.027 96.278
14 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 44 19.671 0.284 0.003 96.264
15 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 56 19.694 0.307 0.023 96.151
16 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 46 19.696 0.309 0.002 96.141
17 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 48 19.726 0.339 0.030 95.995
18 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 60 19.733 0.346 0.007 95.961
19 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 44 19.738 0.351 0.005 95.937
20 47 United States Ryan Preece  Chevrolet 42 19.742 0.355 0.004 95.917
21 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 47 19.751 0.364 0.009 95.874
22 95 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Toyota 46 19.757 0.370 0.006 95.845
23 1 United States Kurt Busch  Chevrolet 41 19.759 0.372 0.002 95.835
24 32 United States Corey Lajoie  Ford 22 19.769 0.382 0.010 95.786
25 6 United States Ryan Newman  Ford 36 19.790 0.403 0.021 95.685
26 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 40 19.808 0.421 0.018 95.598
27 8 United States Daniel Hemric  Chevrolet 54 19.859 0.472 0.051 95.352
28 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 23 19.869 0.482 0.010 95.304
29 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 48 19.879 0.492 0.010 95.256
30 36 United States Matt Tifft  Ford 39 19.925 0.538 0.046 95.036
31 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 35 19.967 0.580 0.042 94.836
32 00 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 38 20.032 0.645 0.065 94.529
33 52 United States Jeb Burton  Chevrolet 17 20.236 0.849 0.204 93.576
34 51 Cody Ware  Chevrolet 9 20.262 0.875 0.026 93.456
35 77 Canada D.J. Kennington  Chevrolet 27 20.435 1.048 0.173 92.665
36 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 2 20.606 1.219 0.171 91.896

 

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Martinsville
Author Jim Utter