Kahne and Earnhardt lead final practice at Talladega
The Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets of Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Chase Elliott posted three of the top-five single-lap speeds in final practice on Friday.
Kahne led the way with a lap of 191.222mph followed by Earnhardt, Kurt Busch, Trevor Bayne, Elliott, Paul Menard, Brad Keselowski, Landon Cassill, Kevin Harvick and Chris Buescher.
“I think we can do well at Talladega,” said Kahne, who completed 13 laps. “Unfortunately, you can’t control everything at Talladega, though. Sometimes you are unlucky and that’s just part of what happens there. We had a strong finish there earlier this year and all we can do is focus on everything we can control.”
With 23 drivers in time out due to practice holds in Happy Hour, only six cars attempted to complete laps in the first 10 minutes of the session.
Kurt Busch led the way with a lap of 189.898mph followed by Menard, Ty Dillon, Cassill, David Ragan and Jeffrey Earnhardt.
Brad Keselowski completed three laps with a top circuit of 187.949mph moved up to fifth.
NASCAR released the first group of drivers with 15-minute practice holds including Austin Dillon, Danica Patrick, Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Busch, Daniel Suarez, Matt Kenseth, DJ Kennington, Chris Buescher, Jimmie Johnson and Michael McDowell. Martin Truex Jr. and AJ Allmendinger.
Truex, Allmendinger, Bowyer and Stenhouse returned to the garage.
Seventeen cars took laps before the 25-minute mark. Kurt Busch retained the top spot, followed by Keselowski (188.645mph), Cassill, Buescher, Logano, Menard, Ty Dillon, Ragan, Austin Dillon, Johnson, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Cole Whitt, Kyle Busch, Danica Patrick, McDowell, and Suarez.
“We’re all good, we’ve been released,” the No. 77 team told Erik Jones, who was one of eight drivers with 30-minute practice holds which also included Jamie McMurray, Harvick, Kahne, Trevor Bayne, Chase Elliott, Matt DiBenedetto and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“You can release the 6,” said NASCAR radio channel to Bayne. NASCAR released DiBenedetto next.
The Hendrick Motorsports duo of Kahne (191.222mph) and Earnhardt (191.069mph) vaulted to the top of the speed chart in the draft. Kurt Busch dropped to third followed by Elliott, Bayne, Keselowski, Cassill, Harvick, Buescher, Logano, McMurray, Paul Menard, Ty Dillon, Johnson, Kenseth, Suarez, Dillon, Ragan, Jeffrey Earnhardt and Cole Whitt.
“It felt really good,” Kahne said. “Good back to start-finish.”
With 15 minutes remaining, 23 cars had made laps. Kurt Busch’s 15-laps were the most completed. He finished the session with 21 laps on the board.
“Thanks everybody, the car feels sporty,” said Kurt Busch, who remained third of the speed chart. “Thank you.”
|2||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||13||50.118||0.040||0.040||191.069|
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