Kevin Harvick’s final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice session was cut short but it didn’t affect his speed.
Harvick completed a sweep of Saturday’s two practice sessions at ISM Raceway near Phoenix, including the leading way in the final session with an average lap speed at 134.544 mph.
Harvick posted the lap right at the start of the session and was forced to sit out the final 15 minutes because his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford twice failed pre-qualifying inspection on Friday. He also topped the charts in ten lap averages.
His dominance in Saturday’s practices in both short and long runs impressed four-time Cup champion and Fox TV analyst Jeff Gordon.
“I just don’t want to see someone who is fast,” Gordon said. “I want to see someone who is fast and consistent and that’s Kevin Harvick right now. He’s both.”
Harvick, who will start 10th in Sunday’s TicketGuardian 500, ended Saturday’s final session also fastest among those drivers who ran at least 10 and 15 consecutive laps.
Jamie McMurray was second-fastest in single-lap runs in the session (134.504 mph), pole-winner Martin Truex Jr. was third (134.454 mph), Aric Almirola (134.213 mph) and Alex Bowman completed the top-five (134.193 mph).
Harvick’s teammate, Almirola, said his No. 10 Ford was “really good.”
“I think we still need a little bit more to be has good as (Harvick). He’s really strong,” Almirola said. “We unload every Friday with no notebook. We don’t really know what to do for us and we kind of gauge ourselves off our teammates.
“We saw that at Atlanta and we’re seeing it again this weekend. I feel as we build a notebook, we’ll unload better and that will allow us to get even better throughout the weekend.”
Completing the Top 10 were Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Erik Jones and Denny Hamlin.
Matt DiBenedetto was also forced to sit out the final 15 minutes of the practice session for twice failing pre-qualifying inspection on Friday.
|3||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||56||26.775||0.018||0.010||134.454|
|22||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||50||27.070||0.313||0.007||132.989|
|29||43||Darrell Wallace Jr.||Chevrolet||54||27.252||0.495||0.025||132.100|