Kyle Larson tops final practice for the Coca-Cola 600

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Kyle Larson tops final practice for the Coca-Cola 600
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
May 27, 2017, 4:38 PM

Kyle Larson, who will start from the rear of the field in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, led the way in Saturday’s final practice session at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Ryan Blaney, Team Penske Ford
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford

Larson posted the session’s fastest single-lap speed of 186.400 mph very early in the session, which was run under very warm conditions – very different from what drivers are likely to see tomorrow evening.

Larson’s No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet took so long to clear pre-qualifying inspection on Thursday that Larson was unable to post a qualifying speed. He will start the race in 39th.

Ryan Blaney, who was fastest in Saturday’s first practice, ended up second-fastest in the final session. Matt Kenseth was third, Kurt Busch was fourth and rookie Erik Jones completed the top-five.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ended up with the seventh-fastest speed (184.433 mph) – his best performance in practice all weekend.

“I’m OK starting (the race) where we are,” Earnhardt told crew chief Greg Ives over his team radio after the session. “I am pretty happy with our speed and how the car was feeling to me.”

Ives replied, “We’ve come a long way from a week ago.”

Earnhardt struggled in last weekend’s All-Star Race and failed to advance to the 10-car, 10-lap shootout to determine the $1 million winner.

Just four minutes into the final session, Brad Keselowski spun off Turn 4 and made contact with the wall with the right-rear of his No. 2 Ford. He then turned down into the infield grass and also damaged his front splitter.

His Team Penske team was able to repair the mostly-cosmetic damage and returned to practice. He ended up 16th-fastest.

Jamie McMurray ended up fastest among the 25 drivers who completed at least 10 consecutive laps in Saturday's final session with an average lap speed of 180.914 mph. Kenseth was second-fastest, Chase Elliott third, Larson fourth and Jimmie Johnson fifth.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 26 28.970     186.400
2 21 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 22 29.054 0.084 0.084 185.861
3 20 united_states Matt Kenseth  Toyota 36 29.182 0.212 0.128 185.046
4 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 36 29.212 0.242 0.030 184.856
5 77 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 19 29.218 0.248 0.006 184.818
6 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 35 29.224 0.254 0.006 184.780
7 88 united_states Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Chevrolet 32 29.279 0.309 0.055 184.433
8 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 47 29.367 0.397 0.088 183.880
9 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 34 29.390 0.420 0.023 183.736
10 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 43 29.395 0.425 0.005 183.705

CLICK HERE for complete practice results

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Charlotte
Location Charlotte Motor Speedway
Drivers Kyle Larson
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing
Author Jim Utter
Article type Practice report