Kyle Busch tops final practice at Fontana

Kyle Busch appears in position to try to end Kevin Harvick’s three-race winning streak.

Busch ended up fastest in Saturday’s final practice session at Auto Club Speedway, with an average lap speed of 185.668 mph that was set very early in the session.

Busch has finished runner-up to Harvick in the last two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races and has won two of the last four Cup races at Auto Club Speedway.

Busch and Toyota are still searching for their first win of the 2018 season.

“We focused on the long-run the last four or five years and it paid off in 2011 and 2013. And a couple of years ago as well. It almost paid off for us,” Busch said. “It just hasn’t the last couple of years.

“We end up having these short-run bursts. These short five- or six-lap runs – whatever it is – until the finish of the race. We just haven’t been able to have that short-run speed. If we can try to have both, that would be the perfect world.”

Reigning series champion and pole-winner, Martin Truex Jr., ended up second-fastest (185.319 mph). Jimmie Johnson ended up third, Harvick fourth and Brad Keselowski completed the top-five.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Kyle Larson, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney, Ryan Newman and Jamie McMurray.

With about 15 minutes left in the session, Kyle Busch said his No. 18 Toyota “felt good” and was just a little tight in the center of the turns.

A total of 10 drivers had to sit out the final 15 minutes of the 50-minute session. Michael McDowell lost the time due to a qualifying inspection violation.

The teams of Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin, Bowyer, William Byron, A.J. Allmendinger, Johnson, Cole Whitt and Alex Bowman were all docked the time for twice failing pre-qualifying inspection on Friday.

“I’m confident we’ll be just fine on Sunday,” said Bowman, who ended up 11th fastest."

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 45 38.779     185.668
2 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 41 38.852 0.073 0.073 185.319
3 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 25 39.019 0.240 0.167 184.525
4 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 26 39.065 0.286 0.046 184.308
5 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 39 39.071 0.292 0.006 184.280
6 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 26 39.074 0.295 0.003 184.266
7 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 27 39.115 0.336 0.041 184.073
8 12 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 42 39.126 0.347 0.011 184.021
9 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 28 39.157 0.378 0.031 183.875
10 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 37 39.231 0.452 0.074 183.528
11 88 united_states Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 18 39.265 0.486 0.034 183.369
12 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 34 39.270 0.491 0.005 183.346
13 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 34 39.308 0.529 0.038 183.169
14 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 27 39.334 0.555 0.026 183.048
15 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 38 39.341 0.562 0.007 183.015
16 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 38 39.350 0.571 0.009 182.973
17 10 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 32 39.380 0.601 0.030 182.834
18 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 28 39.393 0.614 0.013 182.774
19 21 united_states Paul Menard  Ford 34 39.399 0.620 0.006 182.746
20 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 31 39.462 0.683 0.063 182.454
21 20 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 31 39.518 0.739 0.056 182.195
22 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 18 39.563 0.784 0.045 181.988
23 24 united_states William Byron  Chevrolet 24 39.568 0.789 0.005 181.965
24 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 26 39.574 0.795 0.006 181.938
25 9 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 22 39.632 0.853 0.058 181.671
26 95 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 30 39.691 0.912 0.059 181.401
27 34 united_states Michael McDowell  Ford 31 39.777 0.998 0.086 181.009
28 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 29 39.796 1.017 0.019 180.923
29 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 14 39.923 1.144 0.127 180.347
30 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 34 39.953 1.174 0.030 180.212
31 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 23 40.248 1.469 0.295 178.891
32 15 united_states Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 19 40.605 1.826 0.357 177.318
33 72 united_states Cole Whitt  Chevrolet 11 40.677 1.898 0.072 177.004
34 00 united_states Jeffrey Earnhardt  Chevrolet 16 41.515 2.736 0.838 173.431
35 51 united_states Timmy Hill  Chevrolet 16 41.911 3.132 0.396 171.793
36 55 united_states Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 10 42.529 3.750 0.618 169.296

 

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Event Fontana
Track Auto Club Speedway
Drivers Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing
Article type Practice report