Erik Jones leads Cup practice at Charlotte; Kyle Larson hits wall
Erik Jones led the way in Friday’s lone Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice session at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Jones, who ran very well in last weekend’s Monster Energy Open during All-Star Race activities, posted an average lap speed of 192.713 mph to lead the way in the one-hour, 25-minute session.
Jimmie Johnson was second-fastest (192.472 mph), Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin tied for fourth (192.465 mph) and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five (192.150 mph).
While attempting a mock qualifying run late in the session, Larson hit the Turn 2 wall on exit and did what his team described as “quite a lot of damage” to his No. 42 Chevrolet.
It was Larson’s ninth lap of the session and he immediately took his car to the garage. At the conclusion of practice, his Chip Ganassi team was undecided whether it would move to a back-up car before Thursday night’s qualifying session.
“I haven’t run the top (lane) yet. I went into (Turn) 1 and got really tight and never got wide-open and hammered the wall pretty good. It caught me off-guard, really,” Larson said.
Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer also tagged the Turn 2 wall during the session, but their incidents did not appear very serious.
“Things are good. We had a Goodyear tire test a couple weeks ago and we tried lots of different stuff,” Busch said. “We’re really doing our homework on qualifying trim right now.
“When you put VHT on the track, it’s kind of like drag-racing. It’s very inconsistent when you’re driving through it and when you’re not driving through it.”
To help encourage drivers to utilize the upper racing groove in the corners, track officials have been applying a VHT resin to the upper groove and running a tire machine over the area.
The session was halted briefly twice in the first 30 minutes to clear debris from the track.
In his first run on the track, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. nearly hit the wall but made a great save that prevented his No. 17 Ford from receiving any damage.
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About this article
|Location||Charlotte Motor Speedway|
|Drivers||Kurt Busch , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Larson , Erik Jones|