Hendrick teammates Elliott and Johnson top final Dover practice
Chase Elliott continues to find his groove at Dover International Speedway.
In Happy Hour for the Apache Warrior 400, Elliott posted the best single-lap speed — 157.363mph.
The driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy, who has relied on his teammate and 11-time Dover winner Jimmie Johnson for assistance, completed 60 laps in final practice.
“I’ve been trying to talk to him every time I’ve ever been,” Elliott said. “I still haven’t figured it out, but yes, I would say he is the best there, no doubt. I would love to know what makes him so good at that track.
“I feel like I have learned some things and have gotten better there over the past few races. We had a solid race there last time. I had a solid race in the fall of last year too. I think we are gaining on it. We are not to his level by any means, but I think we are gaining on it.”
Johnson was second-quick followed by Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Blaney and Daniel Suarez. Busch’s 80 laps were the most completed during the 55-minute session.
Martin Truex Jr. led the field to final practice with Larson in tow but they completed didn’t complete a lap before bringing their cars to pit road for time out. Kenseth, Austin Dillon, Clint Bowyer, Matt DiBenedetto, Erik Jones, Earnhardt, Newman, Kahne, McDowell, Ross Chastain and Brett Moffitt also served practice penalties.
After the first 20 drivers completed their initial runs, Elliott led with a single-lap speed of 157.363mph. followed by Johnson, Kyle Busch, Mcmurray, Hamlin, Blaney, Suarez, Logano, Keselowski and Kurt Busch.
“I get a little loose in the center of 3 and 4 under max load,” Hamlin tells crew chief Mike Wheeler.
Harvick moved up to third with a lap of 156.897mph before the 10-minute mark. Elliott continued to lead followed by Johnson, Harvick, Kyle Busch, McMurray, Hamlin, Blaney, Suarez, Logano and Keselowski.
NASCAR released the Nos. 3, 5, 15, 31, 32, 77, 78 and 83 cars from practice holds. Kahne, Chastain and Moffitt’s teams failed inspection twice at Loudon. Dillon, Newman, DiBenedetto, Jones and Truex failed Dover qualifying inspection twice.
Elliott continued to lead the session after the first group of cars joined practice. Kurt Busch ran 11th-quick followed by Truex, Aric Almirola, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Trevor Bayne, Jones, David Ragan, Newman, Ty Dillon and Kahne.
Kenseth, Bowyer, Larson and Earnhardt joined practice after serving 30-minute penalties. Larson topped the foursome, moving to 17th-quick (154.919mph) after eight laps. Bowyer was 22nd (154.288mph) and Earnhardt 26th on the speed chart (153.951mph) after 12 laps.
“It’s not terrible,” Bowyer said.
Kenseth returned to the garage for a fresh set of tires. When he came back on the track, he was 17th-quick in his first lap (155.055mph).
With 10 minutes remaining, Elliott continued to sit P1. Johnson, Harvick, Larson (156.658mph), Kyle Busch, McMurray, Hamlin, Kahne, Blaney and Suarez rounded out the top 10. Suarez’s 62 laps were the most completed.
Thirty-two cars posted Best 10 Consecutive Lap Averages with Kyle Busch (155.518) leading the category followed by Elliott (155.510), Hamlin (155.049), McMurray (155.006mph), Larson (154.945), Johnson (154.792), Blaney (154.563), Harvick (154.447), Keselowski (154.444) and Kurt Busch (154.276).
|12||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||48||23.115||0.238||0.003||155.743|
|16||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||47||23.183||0.306||0.036||155.286|
|28||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||31||23.384||0.507||0.026||153.951|
Harvick and Earnhardt Jr. lead Saturday morning practice at Dover
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