Kyle Larson may not think Richmond (Va.) Raceway is one of his better tracks but his performance of late speaks volumes.
Larson, who earned his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at the track last fall, was fastest in Friday’s final practice session prior to Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400.
Larson posted an average lap speed of 120.315 mph with just over 10 minutes left in this 50-minute session. He was also second-fastest in Friday’s first session.
Darrell Wallace Jr. was second-fastest (119.952 mph) and Jamie McMurray came in third (119.904 mph). Clint Bowyer was fourth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. completed the top-five.
“Typically this hasn’t been a good race track for me, but for whatever reason, the last time we were here we were about a top 3 car all race long,” Larson said Friday. “(Martin) Truex was really fast. But, I was a little bit lucky there at the end with a caution to beat him off pit road and get the win.
“I think that adds a little bit of confidence coming back here; but at the same time, I’ve struggled here in the past. I don’t know if I’ll be as good as I was last time, but I hope so.”
Rounding out the Top 10 in practice were Daniel Hemric, who is making his series debut this weekend; Alex Bowman; Denny Hamlin; Austin Dillon and A.J. Allmendinger.
Hamlin, typically one of the top performers at Richmond, struggled greatly in the first practice and made numerous changes to his No. 11 Toyota before getting on the track in the second practice.
“Whatever it is, it’s a major, major issue that’s not showing up in simulation. We’re trying to put parts and pieces in from our other teammates,” Hamlin said before making his first laps in the second practice.
“I’m not sure we can get our car fix today so it may be a shot in the dark for tomorrow.”
Hamlin ended up completing 39 laps in the session and he was much more pleased with the result, but still believed the team had more work to do.
There are no other practices scheduled before Saturday night’s race, just a qualifying session later Friday afternoon.
Larson was also fastest among the drivers who ran at least 10 consecutive laps in the final session, with an average lap speed of 119.110 mph. Hamlin was second fastest among that group and Martin Truex Jr. was third.
|2||43||Darrell Wallace Jr.||Chevrolet||34||22.509||0.068||0.068||119.952|
|5||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||31||22.520||0.079||0.002||119.893|
|16||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||30||22.605||0.164||0.003||119.443|