Larson leads final practice at Richmond

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Larson leads final practice at Richmond
Lee Spencer
By: Lee Spencer
Apr 29, 2017, 4:31 PM

Single-lap speeds were deceiving in final practice at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday.

Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Erik Jones, Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

Kyle Larson was the first to roll off of pit road for Happy Hour and established the top speed of 119.074mph after completing 11 laps. However, he wasn’t thrilled with the feel of the car as temperatures rose and his tires gave out throughout the session.

Martin Truex Jr., (119.016mph) was second followed by Jimmie Johnson (118.801mph), Erik Jones (118.702mph) and Chase Elliott (118.452mph). Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, pole-sitter Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top 10 single-lap speeds.

Before the 10 minute mark, Kevin Harvick joined the pack. He completed a 24-lap run before returning to the garage.

The top 10 drivers remained the same halfway through the 55-minute session.

“Way worse, way looser,” Bowyer said 30 minutes in.

With less than 10 minutes in the session, Kurt Busch reported voltage issues, and issues with his cooling box.

Larson also completed the most laps in final practice — 84. The driver of the No. 42, who leads the Monster Energy Cup standings, wasn’t pleased with his 18th-place qualifying effort on Friday. Things didn’t appear to approve on Saturday.

“We struggled pretty bad there,” Larson said. “We were really, really loose in, extremely tight in the middle, and really loose off. We didn’t have a good balance at all there in qualifying. I’m not sure if the track changed a lot. They didn’t really change much on our car but it handled way different. So, I’m not really sure why we were so much slower and off on balance. We’ll have our work cut out for us on Sunday.”

Truex led the Best 10 Consecutive Lap Averages category with a speed of 117.521mph followed by Hamlin (117.384mph), Larson (117.379mph), Kenseth (117.337mph) and Elliott (117.160mph).

Toyotas have won the last three races at RIR and Hamlin, who won here last fall, was extremely pleased with the No. 11 car.

“We just have to fine-tune a few things to be the fastest car, but pretty good overall,” Hamlin said. “That was a good final practice for us.”

Kahne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Busch, Bowyer and McMurray rounded out the top 10 in Best Consecutive Lap Averages.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 84 22.675     119.074
2 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 50 22.686 0.011 0.011 119.016
3 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 52 22.727 0.052 0.041 118.801
4 77 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 61 22.746 0.071 0.019 118.702
5 24 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 53 22.794 0.119 0.048 118.452
6 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 67 22.813 0.138 0.019 118.354
7 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 61 22.817 0.142 0.004 118.333
8 5 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 54 22.847 0.172 0.030 118.177
9 20 united_states Matt Kenseth  Toyota 65 22.852 0.177 0.005 118.152
10 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 60 22.882 0.207 0.030 117.997

CLICK HERE for complete race results

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Richmond
Location Richmond International Raceway
Drivers Kyle Larson
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing
Author Lee Spencer
Article type Practice report