Chase Elliott bolted to the top of the speed chart in the final minutes of Friday’s first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.
Kyle Larson was leading the way most of the 50-minute session until Elliott’s went out with less than three minutes remaining to post an average lap speed of 121.327 mph.
Larson ended up second (121.076 mph) while reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr. was third (120.757 mph). Jamie McMurray was fourth-fastest and Joey Logano completed the top-five.
Elliott has struggled somewhat at Richmond since his debut in the Cup series. He’s never started better than ninth and his best finish was 10th – both coming in last fall’s race.
Rounding out the Top 10 were Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski.
“Regardless, I think the race track will be different when it gets dark (on Saturday night), Harvick said after the session. “Our car started off fairly good in race trim and both of our qualifying laps got impeded somewhat.
“I think we’ll be OK.”
Denny Hamlin, who has typically performed well at his home track, struggled during the session and ended up 29th fastest.
“Throttle is really tight, pushing against the wall. Something is really out of sorts. The car feels like it goes dead straight,” Hamlin said over his team radio at one point.
“The front tires aren't doing anything at all. Entry is fine. Just real bad tight.”
Kyle Busch was forced to sit out the final 15 minutes of the first practice session since his No. 18 Toyota failed pre-race inspection twice last weekend at Bristol, Tenn.
Daniel Hemric, who is making his Cup series debut this weekend at Richmond, was 23rd fastest.
|3||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||29||22.359||0.105||0.059||120.757|
|24||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||30||22.679||0.425||0.013||119.053|
|31||43||Darrell Wallace Jr.||Chevrolet||42||22.749||0.495||0.007||118.687|