Denny Hamlin rockets to top of first Cup practice at Martinsville

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Denny Hamlin rockets to top of first Cup practice at Martinsville
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Oct 28, 2017, 4:43 PM

Five-time Martinsville (Va.) Speedway winner Denny Hamlin rocketed to the top of the speed chart just before the conclusion of Saturday’s first practice session.

Kyle Larson was leading the 55-minute session just before Hamlin completed his mock qualifying run and jumped to the top with an average lap speed of 95.415 mph just as time expired.

Hamlin is one of eight drivers remaining in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs and his successful track record at Martinsville gives him hope of a win Sunday that will advance him into the Championship 4 at Homestead.

“This is obviously statistically our best shot even though I feel like we can win each and every week. I feel pretty good about it,” Hamlin said Saturday morning before practice. “A lot of good memories here – 2009 maybe when we came from ninth with three laps to go to win the race was probably my favorite memory at this race track, but it’s been a good one.

“Something about it that fits my driving style well. We have a tire that lays a lot of rubber down now which is really good. Looking at Truck practice and Cup race from the spring, the groove has widened out quite a bit so we’re happy about that.”

Larson ended up second-fastest (95.299 mph), while Ryan Newman was third, Ryan Blaney was fourth and Kyle Busch completed the top-five.

Playoff drivers Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick were sixth, 17th, 21, 22 and 23rd-fastest, respectively.

There were no on-track incidents in the first practice but drivers Harvick and Daniel Suarez nearly avoided a collision in the garage area while one was returning from the track and the other was heading out.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 71 19.846     95.415
2 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 52 19.870 0.024 0.024 95.299
3 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 46 19.900 0.054 0.030 95.156
4 21 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 40 19.925 0.079 0.025 95.036
5 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 47 19.932 0.086 0.007 95.003
6 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 44 19.935 0.089 0.003 94.989
7 20 united_states Matt Kenseth  Toyota 51 20.014 0.168 0.079 94.614
8 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 40 20.042 0.196 0.028 94.482
9 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 43 20.043 0.197 0.001 94.477
10 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 38 20.045 0.199 0.002 94.467
11 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 42 20.046 0.200 0.001 94.463
12 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 41 20.054 0.208 0.008 94.425
13 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 54 20.085 0.239 0.031 94.279
14 95 united_states Michael McDowell  Chevrolet 35 20.095 0.249 0.010 94.232
15 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 51 20.095 0.249 0.000 94.232
16 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 36 20.111 0.265 0.016 94.157
17 24 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 60 20.113 0.267 0.002 94.148
18 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 38 20.123 0.277 0.010 94.101
19 88 united_states Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Chevrolet 47 20.126 0.280 0.003 94.087
20 10 united_states Danica Patrick  Ford 36 20.129 0.283 0.003 94.073
21 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 43 20.136 0.290 0.007 94.041
22 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 59 20.145 0.299 0.009 93.999
23 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 40 20.161 0.315 0.016 93.924
24 5 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 54 20.198 0.352 0.037 93.752
25 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 56 20.207 0.361 0.009 93.710
26 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 52 20.246 0.400 0.039 93.530
27 27 united_states Paul Menard  Chevrolet 41 20.271 0.425 0.025 93.414
28 43 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 41 20.276 0.430 0.005 93.391
29 34 united_states Landon Cassill  Ford 41 20.322 0.476 0.046 93.180
30 72 united_states Cole Whitt  Chevrolet 34 20.351 0.505 0.029 93.047
31 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 34 20.380 0.534 0.029 92.915
32 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 28 20.446 0.600 0.066 92.615
33 83 united_states Gray Gaulding  Toyota 34 20.527 0.681 0.081 92.249
34 23 united_states Corey Lajoie  Toyota 31 20.658 0.812 0.131 91.664
35 7 united_states Hermie Sadler  Chevrolet 31 20.700 0.854 0.042 91.478
36 33 united_states Jeffrey Earnhardt  Chevrolet 30 20.764 0.918 0.064 91.196
37 15 united_states Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 24 20.809 0.963 0.045 90.999
38 66 united_states Carl Long  Chevrolet 31 21.157 1.311 0.348 89.502
39 51 united_states Kyle Weatherman  Chevrolet 29 21.211 1.365 0.054 89.274

 

 

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Martinsville II
Location Martinsville Speedway
Author Jim Utter
Article type Practice report