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.
|10||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||8||26.245||0.211||0.012||137.169|
|25||43||Darrell Wallace Jr.||Chevrolet||18||26.534||0.500||0.049||135.675|
|37||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||0.000||0.000|