Fresh off first Cup win, Erik Jones tops final practice at Kentucky

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Fresh off first Cup win, Erik Jones tops final practice at Kentucky
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Jul 13, 2018, 7:03 PM

Momentum helps and Erik Jones showed the benefits in Friday’s final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice.

Fresh off his first series victory last weekend, Jones rocketed to the top of the leaderboard in final practice at Kentucky Speedway, leading the way with an average lap speed of 187.748 mph.

“I think there’s still work we’ve got to do, but, you know, we’re coming into a stretch of really good tracks for us,” Jones said Friday. “We ran through Sonoma and Chicago, which Sonoma is definitely not a good track for me and had a good run. And Chicago’s an okay track for myself and we had a good run there.

“Then, obviously, getting that win at Daytona, so there’s a lot of momentum on our side for almost the last month now and we want to keep that rolling obviously, but I think there’s going to be a little bit of work to do to catch (the series leaders).

“Hopefully, we can use that to our advantage and figure out what it’s going to take to get up there.”

In his only previous Cup start at Kentucky, Jones started 14th in last year’s race and finished sixth.

Ryan Blaney ended up second-fastest (186.896 mph) and Kyle Busch was third (186.503 mph). Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was fourth – putting up his fast lap very late in the 50-minute session – and Austin Dillon completed the top-five.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Darrell Wallace Jr., Clint Bowyer, Daniel Suarez, Aric Almirola and Chase Elliott.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 20 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 5 28.762     187.748
2 12 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 24 28.829 0.067 0.067 187.311
3 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 22 28.954 0.192 0.125 186.503
4 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 11 29.035 0.273 0.081 185.982
5 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 14 29.077 0.315 0.042 185.714
6 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 8 29.133 0.371 0.056 185.357
7 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 25 29.140 0.378 0.007 185.312
8 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 21 29.161 0.399 0.021 185.179
9 10 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 17 29.161 0.399 0.000 185.179
10 9 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 25 29.175 0.413 0.014 185.090
11 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 29 29.198 0.436 0.023 184.944
12 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 24 29.206 0.444 0.008 184.894
13 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 19 29.242 0.480 0.036 184.666
14 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 21 29.265 0.503 0.023 184.521
15 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 20 29.348 0.586 0.083 183.999
16 6 united_states Matt Kenseth  Ford 17 29.473 0.711 0.125 183.219
17 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 22 29.501 0.739 0.028 183.045
18 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 22 29.522 0.760 0.021 182.914
19 34 united_states Michael McDowell  Ford 11 29.533 0.771 0.011 182.846
20 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 40 29.555 0.793 0.022 182.710
21 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 16 29.577 0.815 0.022 182.574
22 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 14 29.625 0.863 0.048 182.278
23 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 40 29.707 0.945 0.082 181.775
24 21 united_states Paul Menard  Ford 25 29.726 0.964 0.019 181.659
25 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 48 29.733 0.971 0.007 181.616
26 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 35 29.767 1.005 0.034 181.409
27 24 united_states William Byron  Chevrolet 39 29.883 1.121 0.116 180.705
28 88 united_states Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 19 29.887 1.125 0.004 180.681
29 95 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 26 29.901 1.139 0.014 180.596
30 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 26 29.921 1.159 0.020 180.475
31 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 12 30.491 1.729 0.570 177.101
32 15 united_states Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 23 30.586 1.824 0.095 176.551
33 23 united_states J.J. Yeley  Toyota 18 30.743 1.981 0.157 175.650
34 72 united_states Corey Lajoie  Chevrolet 16 30.813 2.051 0.070 175.251
35 00 united_states Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 29 30.829 2.067 0.016 175.160
36 51 united_states B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 15 30.951 2.189 0.122 174.469
37 07 united_states Jesse Little  Chevrolet 10 31.084 2.322 0.133 173.723
38 66 united_states Timmy Hill  Toyota 10 31.354 2.592 0.270 172.227
39 99 united_states Garrett Smithley  Chevrolet 23 31.392 2.630 0.038 172.018
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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Kentucky
Location Kentucky Speedway
Drivers Erik Jones
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing
Author Jim Utter
Article type Practice report