Larson tops final Sonoma practice; Elliott and Jones crash
Kyle Larson posted the fastest lap as the first car out in Happy Hour.
His run of 94.389mph held up throughout the 85-minute session at Sonoma Raceway on Friday.
Kyle Busch was second followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., AJ Allmendinger, Jamie McMurray, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr.
Earnhardt, whose average finish of seventh in the last three races tops the tour, says his car was quick when the No. 88 team unloaded earlier this morning.
“The last couple of trips here our car has been really good off the truck,” Earnhardt said. “That makes things a lot easier in the garage and trying to make the car better and make changes. It gives you a lot of confidence that whatever doesn’t work you can always go back and still have that speed.”
Click on image to watch Larson talk about his day at Sonoma.
Jones finds the tire barrier
Two minutes into the session, Cole Whitt spun in his own oil coming up Turn 2 to bring out the first caution. Moments later, Erik Jones hit the tire wall in the carousel before completing his first lap.
“I just got some wheel hop and then got loose and hit the fence,” Jones said after he was evaluated and released from the Infield Care Center. “I just got some wheel hop and then got loose and hit the fence. I’ve been frustrated all day and this just compounds that. We have to get the backup out and try to learn more and try to get some speed out of the 5-hour ENERGY Camry.”
The No. 77 Furniture Row team pulled out the backup for Jones.
“I don’t have a lot of road course experience anyways and then to get thrown into the fire,” Jones added. “I wish we could do any kind of testing anywhere. It’s hard to show up and get out there to do it. Just one of those things trying to learn and you make a mistake.”
Only two drivers — Kyle Larson and Kurt Busch — had completed laps prior to the caution. Larson’s circuit of 94.389mph placed him at the top of the speed chart.
Cars returned to the track with 70 minutes remaining in the 85-minute session. After the first five minutes, 15 drivers had completed laps with Larson retaining the top spot followed by Kurt Busch (93.851mph), Joey Logano (92.765mph), Michael McDowell (92.485mph), Ryan Newman (92.393mph), Ryan Blaney (92.253mph), David Ragan (91.881mph) and Chris Buescher (91.541mph).
With an hour remaining, Kevin Harvick jumped up to third (93.849mph) followed by Chase Elliott (93.640mph), Martin Truex Jr. (92.997mph) and Kyle Busch (92.852mph). Logano, Trevor Bayne, Danica Patrick and McDowell rounded out the top 10.
Jamie McMurray joined his Ganassi teammate at the top of the speed chart with a lap of 94.017mph with 40 minutes to go. Dale Earnhardt Jr. vaulted to eighth-quick with a la of 92.913mph.
Half-way through Happy Hour, Larson led followed by McMurray, Kurt Busch, Harvick, Clint Bowyer (93.802mph), Elliott, Trevor Bayne (93.166mph), Truex, Earnhardt and Kyle Busch.
Patrick posted the seventh fastest lap (93.631mph) at the 35-minute mark. McDowell’s 16 laps were the most completed at that juncture.
Jones returned to the track for the first time in his back-up car with 25-minutes to go. Earnhardt bumped up to second (94.242mph) with 20 minutes left in the session.
Elliott in trouble at Turn 10
Chase Elliott destroyed the No. 24 Chevy in Turn 10 with 15 minutes remaining to bring out the yellow flag.
“Sorry guys,” said Elliott, who was running his ninth lap of the session. Elliott was seventh on the speed chart with a quick-lap of 93.640mph.
The track returned to green with less than 10 minutes on the clock. Kyle Busch vaulted to P2 with a lap of 93.344mph on his 18th lap. Truex also returned to the top 10 with a lap of 93.679mph. Moments later, Brad Keselowski bumped Truex to 10th with a lap of 93.729mph.
In the final minute, AJ Allmendinger vaulted to fourth with a single-lap speed of 94.221mph.
|3||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||16||76.017||0.118||0.082||94.242|
|10||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||19||76.474||0.575||0.041||93.679|
|24||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||20||76.935||1.036||0.001||93.118|
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Video: Chase Elliott wrecks during Sonoma practice
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|Teams||Chip Ganassi Racing|