Hendrick teammates Elliott and Johnson top final Dover practice

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Hendrick teammates Elliott and Johnson top final Dover practice
Lee Spencer
By: Lee Spencer
Sep 30, 2017, 6:09 PM

Chase Elliott continues to find his groove at Dover International Speedway.

Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

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).

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 24 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 60 22.877     157.363
2 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 69 22.944 0.067 0.067 156.904
3 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 54 22.945 0.068 0.001 156.897
4 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 36 22.980 0.103 0.035 156.658
5 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 80 22.984 0.107 0.004 156.631
6 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 67 22.988 0.111 0.004 156.603
7 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 60 23.082 0.205 0.094 155.966
8 5 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 45 23.083 0.206 0.001 155.959
9 21 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 48 23.088 0.211 0.005 155.925
10 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 62 23.099 0.222 0.011 155.851
11 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 34 23.112 0.235 0.013 155.763
12 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 48 23.115 0.238 0.003 155.743
13 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 56 23.115 0.238 0.000 155.743
14 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 51 23.128 0.251 0.013 155.655
15 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 52 23.147 0.270 0.019 155.528
16 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 47 23.183 0.306 0.036 155.286
17 43 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 62 23.185 0.308 0.002 155.273
18 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 47 23.199 0.322 0.014 155.179
19 77 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 42 23.224 0.347 0.025 155.012
20 20 united_states Matt Kenseth  Toyota 21 23.225 0.348 0.001 155.005
21 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 55 23.255 0.378 0.030 154.805
22 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 39 23.260 0.383 0.005 154.772
23 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 58 23.279 0.402 0.019 154.646
24 27 united_states Paul Menard  Chevrolet 50 23.336 0.459 0.057 154.268
25 10 united_states Danica Patrick  Ford 55 23.351 0.474 0.015 154.169
26 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 40 23.354 0.477 0.003 154.149
27 34 united_states Landon Cassill  Ford 57 23.358 0.481 0.004 154.123
28 88 united_states Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Chevrolet 31 23.384 0.507 0.026 153.951
29 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 42 23.406 0.529 0.022 153.807
30 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 46 23.429 0.552 0.023 153.656
31 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 37 23.569 0.692 0.140 152.743
32 55 united_states Reed Sorenson  Toyota 31 23.716 0.839 0.147 151.796
33 15 united_states Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 35 23.760 0.883 0.044 151.515
34 72 united_states Cole Whitt  Chevrolet 31 23.840 0.963 0.080 151.007
35 83 united_states Brett Moffitt  Toyota 22 23.948 1.071 0.108 150.326
36 33 united_states Jeffrey Earnhardt  Chevrolet 32 24.083 1.206 0.135 149.483
37 23 united_states Corey Lajoie  Toyota 22 24.089 1.212 0.006 149.446
38 51 united_states B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 20 24.541 1.664 0.452 146.693
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