Chase Elliott tops opening Cup practice at Phoenix
Chase Elliott posted the fastest single lap speed in first practice for the Camping World 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday.
Elliott’s lap of 137.101mph on his 20th lap came in the closing moments of the 85-minute session on the one-mile track.
“I have enjoyed going to Phoenix,” said Elliott, who posted a pair of top-10 finishes last season as a rookie. “It’s a fun place to go because it’s unique and different than the rest of the tracks, which is always fun.”
Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-five speeds. Logano and Gray Gaulding completed the most laps (27).
Three drivers participated in the Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average category — Jamie McMurray (132.623mph), Larson (132.466mph) and Gaulding (127.326mph).
In the first 30 minutes, Matt Kenseth was at the top of the chart with a speed of 135.875mph which he posted in the second lap of a qualifying run. Last weekend’s winner Martin Truex Jr. was second (135.557mph), followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. (135.496mph), Denny Hamlin (135,323mph) and rookie Erik Jones (135.003mph).
NASCAR held cars on pit road following report of debris in Turn 2, 55-minutes into practice. Ryan Blaney led the field at that point when a lap of 135.895mph — set on his third run, 18 laps in. Kenseth remained second followed by Truex, Earnhardt and Kyle Larson (135.455mph). Jamie McMurray, Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Jones and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top 10.
After the one-hour mark, Chase Elliott jumped to the top of the board with a lap of 135.962mph, set on his 17th circuit. As other drivers made qualifying runs, Logano (136.441mph), Truex (136.168mph), Larson (136.070mph) and Blaney (136.070mph) bumped Elliott with just over 15-minutes remaining in the session.
Kasey Kahne made a surprise appearance in the top five with less than 10 minutes remaining in the 85-minute session. Kahne’s speed of 135.982mph on his 19th lap moved him up the board — until Kyle Busch’s quick lap of 136.090mph, good for third, knocked Kahne to sixth. Moments later, Elliott was atop the board again with a speed of 137.101mph on his 20th lap. Truex posted a lap of 136.168mph, with seven minutes to go, to climb to second but was bumped by Logano’s lap of 136.441mph. In the final five minutes, Larson shot up to second-quick with a speed of 136.472mph.
|4||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||26.438||0.180||0.053||136.168|
|7||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||26.473||0.215||0.020||135.988|
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