Larson tops final Sonoma practice; Elliott and Jones crash

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Larson tops final Sonoma practice; Elliott and Jones crash
Lee Spencer
By: Lee Spencer
Jun 24, 2017, 12:21 AM

Kyle Larson posted the fastest lap as the first car out in Happy Hour.

Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Alon Day, BK Racing Toyota
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

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.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 30 75.899     94.389
2 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 18 75.935 0.036 0.036 94.344
3 88 united_states Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Chevrolet 16 76.017 0.118 0.082 94.242
4 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 19 76.034 0.135 0.017 94.221
5 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 21 76.199 0.300 0.165 94.017
6 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 18 76.334 0.435 0.135 93.851
7 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 18 76.335 0.436 0.001 93.849
8 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 12 76.374 0.475 0.039 93.802
9 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 21 76.433 0.534 0.059 93.729
10 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 19 76.474 0.575 0.041 93.679
11 24 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 8 76.506 0.607 0.032 93.640
12 10 united_states Danica Patrick  Ford 15 76.513 0.614 0.007 93.631
13 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 15 76.541 0.642 0.028 93.597
14 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 14 76.549 0.650 0.008 93.587
15 95 united_states Michael McDowell  Chevrolet 20 76.610 0.711 0.061 93.513
16 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 11 76.639 0.740 0.029 93.477
17 21 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 12 76.684 0.785 0.045 93.422
18 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 9 76.740 0.841 0.056 93.354
19 27 united_states Paul Menard  Chevrolet 17 76.792 0.893 0.052 93.291
20 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 13 76.792 0.893 0.000 93.291
21 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 15 76.858 0.959 0.066 93.211
22 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 17 76.895 0.996 0.037 93.166
23 23 israel Alon Day Toyota 12 76.934 1.035 0.039 93.119
24 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 20 76.935 1.036 0.001 93.118
25 5 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 13 76.953 1.054 0.018 93.096
26 72 united_states Cole Whitt  Chevrolet 5 77.333 1.434 0.380 92.638
27 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 27 77.357 1.458 0.024 92.610
28 20 united_states Matt Kenseth  Toyota 18 77.446 1.547 0.089 92.503
29 43 united_states Billy Johnson  Ford 27 77.708 1.809 0.262 92.191
30 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 16 77.970 2.071 0.262 91.881
31 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 24 78.277 2.378 0.307 91.521
32 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 18 78.333 2.434 0.056 91.456
33 33 united_states Boris Said  Chevrolet 22 78.557 2.658 0.224 91.195
34 77 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 7 78.619 2.720 0.062 91.123
35 34 united_states Landon Cassill  Ford 1 78.636 2.737 0.017 91.103
36 51 united_states Josh Bilicki  Chevrolet 2 79.025 3.126 0.389 90.655
37 15 united_states Kevin O'Connell  Chevrolet 12 80.160 4.261 1.135 89.371
38 55 united_states Tommy Regan  Chevrolet 2 81.836 5.937 1.676 87.541
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About this article

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