Allmendinger tops final Cup practice at Watkins Glen
AJ Allmendinger appears to be back in rare form at Watkins Glen International.
Allmendinger, who won the Cheez-It 355 two years ago, struggled early in Happy Hour then found the speed he was looking for in the final 15 minutes of practice with a lap of 127.551mph.
The repave, with this tire, is challenging for sure,” Allmendinger said after his final run. “We’ll do our homework and see what we’ve got.”
Martin Truex Jr., who led first practice, was second quick with a lap of 127.481mph, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (127.416mph), two-time Glen winner Kyle Busch (127.381mph), Matt Kenseth (127.280mph) and Brad Keselowski (127.119mph).
Michael McDowell (126.989mph), rookie Chase Elliott (126.970mph), Jeff Gordon (126.923mph) and Carl Edwards (126.872mph) rounded out the top 10.
“They did a really good job with the repave, all the curbing and everything – there are no problem spots,” Edwards said. “It has yet to be seen how the tire will fall off and how the cars will run together, but the speeds are fast and we didn’t have any trouble.
“I think we’ll just try to go out here and qualify well and see how the race goes. You guys have seen tons of races here – these things can go any possible way. We really don’t know what to expect yet.”
Kyle Busch, who completed the most laps (23) topped the Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average category with a speed of 124.854mph. His Toyota teammate Denny Hamlin was second (124.353mph) followed by Keselowski 124.348mph), Paul Menard (123.892mph), McDowell (123.715mph), Jamie McMurray (123.522mph), Austin Dillon (123.069mph)and last week’s winner Chris Buescher (122.771mph).
At the 35-minute mark, NASCAR called a caution for a piece of metal — driver’s right in the rumble strips exiting the bus stop. Truex was still leading at that juncture.
Allmendinger experienced an issue 50 minutes in.
“I didn’t feel like it lost any power,” Allmendinger told his crew. "I just saw the smoke.”
The team discovered a broken oil line, repaired the issue and returned to the track.
One hour into the session, David Ragan spun off the track in Turn 1. The team repaired a little sheet metal on the No. 23 Dr. Pepper Toyota and Ragan ended up 35th on the chart for single lap runs.
|2||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||18||1'9.187||0.038||0.038||127.481|
|3||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||14||1'9.222||0.073||0.035||127.416|
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About this article
|Location||Watkins Glen International|
|Teams||JTG Daugherty Racing|