Martin Truex Jr. fastest in final Cup practice; Stenhouse wrecks

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Martin Truex Jr. fastest in final Cup practice; Stenhouse wrecks
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Mar 24, 2018, 5:26 PM

Martin Truex Jr. completed a sweep atop the leaderboard of both Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice sessions on Saturday.

Truex, who was fastest in Saturday’s first session at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, led the way again in the day’s final session, which was completed with a winter storm bearing down on the track.

Truex’s average lap speed of 95.415 mph came very early in the 50-minute session. Truex has never won at the track but finished a career-best second last fall.

Brad Keselowski ended up being second-fastest (95.280 mph) and Daniel Suarez was third (95.242 mph). Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman completed the top-five.

Keselowski has finished fifth or higher in the last four Martinsville races, including a victory in this race one year ago.

“Winning last year was really, really special for me,” Keselowskis said. “This is a special track with the history and tradition of the sport, so having success here kind of ties yourself to those legacies of some of the founders of our sport.  

“It means a lot to me. Martinsville is one of those races where I just feel like you don’t kind of win it on luck, you’ve got to really earn it and I enjoy those types of races.”

Rounding out the top 10 were A.J. Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Blaney and Clint Bowyer.

Almost 17 minutes into the session, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wrecked in Turn 4, doing significant damage to his No. 17 Ford.

Stenhouse’s Roush Fenway Racing team immediately began working on preparing his backup car, which will force him to start Sunday’s race from the rear of the field regardless of where he qualifies.

“I got a really bad wheel-hop going into Turn 3,” Stenhouse said. “Martinsville has always been a tough place for us. Just had too much wheel-hop there and hit the fence.

“That’s been a characteristic of ours at Martinsville for some reason.”

Chase Elliott and Paul Menard missed the final 15 minutes of Saturday’s final practice session for violations during inspection.

Elliott ended up 15th in the rundown.

“We’ve got our car where we’re in the middle of the road on balance,” Elliott said. “That’s all you can ask for today.”

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 72 19.846     95.415
2 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 75 19.874 0.028 0.028 95.280
3 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 72 19.882 0.036 0.008 95.242
4 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 70 19.907 0.061 0.025 95.122
5 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 72 19.984 0.138 0.077 94.756
6 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 28 19.986 0.140 0.002 94.746
7 10 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 84 19.994 0.148 0.008 94.708
8 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 45 20.008 0.162 0.014 94.642
9 12 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 71 20.012 0.166 0.004 94.623
10 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 52 20.018 0.172 0.006 94.595
11 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 79 20.018 0.172 0.000 94.595
12 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 56 20.047 0.201 0.029 94.458
13 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 66 20.048 0.202 0.001 94.453
14 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 71 20.050 0.204 0.002 94.444
15 9 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 47 20.051 0.205 0.001 94.439
16 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 90 20.065 0.219 0.014 94.373
17 21 united_states Paul Menard  Ford 67 20.077 0.231 0.012 94.317
18 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 50 20.094 0.248 0.017 94.237
19 24 united_states William Byron  Chevrolet 53 20.097 0.251 0.003 94.223
20 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 67 20.119 0.273 0.022 94.120
21 88 united_states Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 81 20.120 0.274 0.001 94.115
22 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 83 20.125 0.279 0.005 94.092
23 20 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 68 20.127 0.281 0.002 94.083
24 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 78 20.130 0.284 0.003 94.069
25 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 69 20.133 0.287 0.003 94.055
26 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 38 20.157 0.311 0.024 93.943
27 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 24 20.162 0.316 0.005 93.919
28 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 52 20.181 0.335 0.019 93.831
29 72 united_states Cole Whitt  Chevrolet 36 20.238 0.392 0.057 93.567
30 95 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 63 20.241 0.395 0.003 93.553
31 34 united_states Michael McDowell  Ford 42 20.299 0.453 0.058 93.285
32 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 44 20.303 0.457 0.004 93.267
33 15 united_states Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 56 20.309 0.463 0.006 93.239
34 23 united_states Gray Gaulding  Toyota 28 20.364 0.518 0.055 92.988
35 00 united_states Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 39 20.400 0.554 0.036 92.824
36 96 canada D.J. Kennington  Toyota 63 20.538 0.692 0.138 92.200
37 55 united_states J.J. Yeley  Chevrolet 27 20.632 0.786 0.094 91.780
38 51 united_states Harrison Rhodes  Chevrolet 32 20.743 0.897 0.111 91.289

 

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Martinsville
Location Martinsville Speedway
Drivers Martin Truex Jr.
Teams Furniture Row Racing
Author Jim Utter
Article type Practice report