Kevin Harvick leads the way in Thursday's Cup practice
Kevin Harvick, who has finished first or second in four of the last five races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, led the way in Thursday’s Sprint Cup Series practice session.
Harvick’s posted his fastest lap late in the one hour, 25-minute session, with an average lap speed of 193.757 mph.
Many teams on Thursday spent most of the practice session in race trim because rain associated with Hurricane Matthew threatens to wash out Friday’s practice sessions. Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team switched over to qualifying setup at the very end of the session.
Alex Bowman, substituting for Dale Earnhardt Jr. was second-fastest; Martin Truex Jr., who has won two of the first three races of the Chase, was third; Kyle Busch was fourth and Denny Hamlin was fifth.
Kyle Larson was sixth-fastest, A.J. Allmendinger was seventh, Ryan Newman was eighth, Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch.
Kasey Kahne was fastest among drivers who ran at least 10 consecutive laps, with an average lap speed at 188.561 mph. Kyle Busch was second in the at group, Hamlin was third, Ryan Blaney was fourth and Danica Patrick was fifth.
Truex said before the session began that his team was particularly paying attention to the weather forecasts for the weekend.
“I feel like we’re going to race Saturday night, but you never know with the weather, so I mean it’s really hard to say,” Truex said. “I think that one thing we feel good about is last time here we practiced really well in the daytime and we were able to still race obviously really well at night, so our car seemed like it was, you know, worked well in all weather conditions, which was good.
“That’s something that should certainly benefit us, especially if we do have to race on Sunday.”
Eight drivers – Paul Menard, Josh Wise, Trevor Bayne, Landon Cassill, Bowman, Blaney, Chris Buescher and Tony Stewart – were forced to miss the first 15 minutes of the practice session to serve NASCAR inspection penalties, some of which were deferred from previous weeks when bad weather shortened the weekend schedule.
|3||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||14||28.034||0.164||0.038||192.623|
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|Location||Charlotte Motor Speedway|