Almirola tops afternoon testing session, Hamlin crashes

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Almirola tops afternoon testing session, Hamlin crashes
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Mar 3, 2016, 11:31 PM

Aric Almirola was fastest in Thursday afternoon’s NASCAR test session at Las Vegas that saw driver Denny Hamlin wreck the car with which he planned to compete in Sunday’s race.

Aric Almirola, Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
Denny Hamlin crash damage
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet

Hamlin was on his first run in the afternoon session following several set-up changes and pancaked the right side of his No. 11 Toyota.

The car was the one Hamlin planned to use in Sunday’s race (teams could use either their primary or backup cars in the test). His Joe Gibbs Racing team quickly went to work on his backup car and he was able to return to the track in the session.

“It just snapped loose first lap after the changes,” he said.

Almirola posted the fastest single-lap speed (192.940 mph). That was slightly off the pace of Jimmie Johnson (192.981 mph), who led the morning three-hour session.

In the afternoon, Austin Dillon was second-fastest (192.658 mph), Ryan Blaney was third (191.659 mph), Kurt Busch was fourth (191.381 mph) and Greg Biffle (189.800 mph) completed the top-five.

Brian Vickers, who is driving Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet this weekend, completed the most laps during the afternoon test (117).

Kevin Harvick, the defending winner of the Kobalt 400, ended up 19th fastest in the afternoon session (188.271 mph).

Johnson posted the best 10 consecutive lap average speed of the afternoon session (187.325 mph). Matt Kenseth was second and Kurt Busch third.

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Denny Hamlin , Aric Almirola
Teams Richard Petty Motorsports
Author Jim Utter
Article type Testing report