Hamlin sets fastest time in Happy Hour before spinning
Denny Hamlin set the pace for Happy Hour on his third circuit around Michigan International Speedway.
Hamlin’s lap of 197.878mph (36.386-sec.) held up for the remainder of final practice which was called due to lightning in the area.
Hamlin’s prosperity did not last. At the 15-minute mark, Hamlin lost control of his car attempting to complete his eighth lap and spun into the grass coming off of Turn 4.
“I got loose,” Hamlin said. “That was definitely out of the blue, for sure. With the tire and track combination, you’re so on the edge when you break traction, you really fully break traction. We were going to patch it — just put a splitter on it — but looking around it’s got a little bit of structural damage to the bumper bars, so I think we’re going to call it a practice.
“We have a really good baseline set up, obviously, from the first race. I thought we were a top-three car. We’ll go to work, make sure it’s right before we take the green flag tomorrow.”
NASCAR red-flagged the track momentarily after Hamlin collected himself and returned to the garage. The track re-opened just after 19 minutes into the 50-minute session. Three minutes later, NASCAR called caution again for lightning in the area.
Rookie Chase Elliott, who finished second here in June, was second with a speed of 197.786mph (36.403-sec.). Jimmie Johnson (197.694mph), Kasey Kahne (197.455mph), Brad Keselowski (197.412mph), Kurt Busch (197.336mph), polesitter Joey Logano (197.271mph), Kyle Larson (197.195mph), Carl Edwards (197.034mph) and Alex Bowman (196.969mph) rounded out the top 10 in single lap runs.
Larson’s 22 laps were the most completed during the abbreviated session.
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