Kyle Larson leads Ganassi 1-2 in pre-qualifying practice at Phoenix

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Kyle Larson leads Ganassi 1-2 in pre-qualifying practice at Phoenix
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Mar 9, 2018, 6:39 PM

Chip Ganassi Racing led the way in Friday’s opening Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice session at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.

Teammates Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray traded the top spot on the leaderboard during the session with Larson moving out front just as the session came to a close.

Larson’s average lap speed of 138.281 mph just surpassed McMurray (137.762 mph). Kyle Busch ended up third (137.662 mph).

“Qualifying here is all about that third round,” McMurray said after the session. “Qualifying here (today) is an hour or so earlier than it usually is. That’s going to be a little different. Typically the sun is going down.

“Our Chevy has been pretty good. The practice is so short you just don’t have time to change a lot of things.”

Rookie William Byron had a strong session and finished fourth and Chase Elliott completed the top-five.

The rest of the Top 10: Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer and reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr.

With 32 minutes remaining in the session, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s No. 17 Ford appeared to get loose then slapped the wall fairly hard off Turn 2. It was his first lap at speed on the track.

“Something broke there,” Stenhouse immediately said over his team radio.

Stenhouse’s Roush Fenway Racing team elected to move to a backup car and under NASCAR’s new rule this season, the No. 17 will have to start Sunday’s race from the rear of the field regardless of where they qualify later Friday.

“We’ll go back and look at it and see what was wrong with it,” Stenhouse said later in the garage. “That’s definitely not the way we wanted to start our weekend. We’ll get our backup ready to qualify later today and see how it goes.”

Matt DiBenedetto lost the final 15 minutes of the session for failing pre-race inspection twice last weekend. Ross Chastain and Jimmie Johnson both lost 30 minutes of practice time because each failed pre-race inspection three times last weekend.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 9 26.034     138.281
2 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 11 26.132 0.098 0.098 137.762
3 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 8 26.151 0.117 0.019 137.662
4 24 united_states William Byron  Chevrolet 16 26.159 0.125 0.008 137.620
5 9 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 8 26.160 0.126 0.001 137.615
6 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 8 26.197 0.163 0.037 137.420
7 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 7 26.198 0.164 0.001 137.415
8 12 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 8 26.231 0.197 0.033 137.242
9 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 16 26.233 0.199 0.002 137.232
10 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 8 26.245 0.211 0.012 137.169
11 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 8 26.249 0.215 0.004 137.148
12 88 united_states Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 14 26.254 0.220 0.005 137.122
13 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 8 26.301 0.267 0.047 136.877
14 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 7 26.321 0.287 0.020 136.773
15 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 10 26.333 0.299 0.012 136.711
16 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 11 26.366 0.332 0.033 136.539
17 20 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 10 26.374 0.340 0.008 136.498
18 21 united_states Paul Menard  Ford 11 26.429 0.395 0.055 136.214
19 10 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 13 26.445 0.411 0.016 136.132
20 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 10 26.447 0.413 0.002 136.121
21 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 8 26.459 0.425 0.012 136.060
22 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 12 26.471 0.437 0.012 135.998
23 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 12 26.474 0.440 0.003 135.982
24 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 7 26.485 0.451 0.011 135.926
25 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 18 26.534 0.500 0.049 135.675
26 95 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 8 26.597 0.563 0.063 135.354
27 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 17 26.627 0.593 0.030 135.201
28 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 7 26.630 0.596 0.003 135.186
29 34 united_states Michael McDowell  Ford 10 26.683 0.649 0.053 134.917
30 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 9 26.723 0.689 0.040 134.715
31 96 canada D.J. Kennington  Toyota 9 27.580 1.546 0.857 130.529
32 23 united_states Gray Gaulding  Toyota 3 27.640 1.606 0.060 130.246
33 72 united_states Corey Lajoie  Chevrolet 5 27.708 1.674 0.068 129.926
34 15 united_states Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 3 27.856 1.822 0.148 129.236
35 00 united_states Jeffrey Earnhardt  Chevrolet 8 27.893 1.859 0.037 129.065
36 51 united_states Timmy Hill  Chevrolet 5 28.126 2.092 0.233 127.995
37 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford   0.000     0.000

 

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Phoenix
Location ISM Raceway
Drivers Kyle Larson
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing
Author Jim Utter
Article type Practice report