Kurt Busch sets the pace in Saturday morning practice
Kurt Busch picked up where he left off after first practice — on top of the speed chart at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday.
Busch posted a lap of 137.436 mph on his first of four runs during second practice followed by his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick (136.685 mph), the Toyotas of Carl Edwards (136.493 mph) and Martin Truex Jr. (136.389 mph).
The Hendrick-powered Chevys of Chase Elliott 136.379 mph), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (136.312 mph) and Kasey Kahne (136.312 mph), who will start at the back of the field on Sunday after changing engines following an issue with the No. 5’s EFI on Friday, ran fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.
Earnhardt, who won here last November, experienced issues with his power steering throughout practice but was pleased with the feel of his car at the end of the session.
"I like the way the car was driving there, we definitely had some more security,” Earnhardt told the crew.
Practice was halted six minutes into the session when Michael Annett bounced off the wall between Turns 1 and 2. After a 12-minute delay, practice continued with no further incidents. Annett, who never completed a lap, was forced to go to a back up car.
AJ Allmendinger’s lap of 136.013 mph was fastest among the ECR engines while Joey Logano led the Ford contingent with a lap of 135.947 mph followed fellow Ford driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (135.941 mph). Jimmie Johnson, in his backup car, was 11th quick overall.
Busch’s 48 laps were the most ran during second practice. Busch also posted the Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average of 135.699 mph, followed by Edwards (135.440 mph), rookie Ryan Blaney (135.025 mph), Denny Hamlin (134.934 mph) and pole sitter Kyle Busch (134.746 mph).
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