With storms closing in on the speedway, Friday morning's practice results could double as the starting lineup for Sunday's race.
The opening one hour and thirty minute practice session to kick off the postseason has concluded and it's Kevin Harvick's name at the top of the charts.
The Stewart-Haas Racing driver and reigning series champion put down a lap of 188.317mph, followed closely by the Team Penske duo.
No. 4 back on top
Harvick was a bit free on his quick lap and the team commented to Kevin that the RCR/ECR drivers seemed to be really low in the rear end. Soon after, Martin Truex Jr. was forced to the garage due to the left rear tire rubbing on the fender.
Harvick's SHR teammate Kurt Busch was back in the tenth position and had this to say after his last run on the track: "Definitely hooked up Turn 1 and 2 a little better, a bit tight in turn 3. Rubbed the left rear tire a little bit again."
Very early in the session, David Ragan spun on pit road, but escaped mostly unscathed. It was the only red flag period.
The track got crowded as the minutes turned into seconds with imminent showers making this practice even more crucial. "Good timing getting out there, turning into chaos now," commented the No. 22 squad. Joey Logano was second-quickest, which could put him on the front row if Mother Nature has her way.
Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr. and Austin Dillon rounded out the top five. Ryan Newman timed in sixth and said, "Didn't get my entry quite right, but it felt a little bit better there. Really good balance."
Gibbs left looking for more
JGR, despite winning eight out of the last eleven races, didn't show too much strength in Friday's lone practice. Kyle Busch gave them their best showing down in seventh, while Richmond winner Matt Kenseth was 13th.
Carl Edwards in 15th complained of a tight condition in his No. 19 Toyota Camry: "It won't turn at all. Turn 3 and 4 - real tight."
Denny Hamlin was the slowest Chase driver, failing to get any higher than 30th on the time sheets. After one last go in the final moments of practice, a frustrated Hamlin radioed" Too tight ... Damn it."