Kyle Busch leads the way in final practice at Chicagoland
Kyle Busch topped the speed chart in Happy Hour on Saturday.
Busch set the early pace in final practice with a lap of 180.252mph at Chicagoland Speedway.
Austin Dillon was second-quick (179.438mph) followed by Keselowski (179.289mph), Elliott (179.134mph), Bowyer (178.542mph), Hamlin (178.312mph), Blaney (177.515), Bayne, Landon Cassill and Ryan Newman.
“This is one of those places that is kind of like last week, tire wear is a big deal and being able to keep both right sides on it – you have the keep the right front and you have to keep the right rear on it,” Busch said. “I just haven’t been very good at being able to do that here in the long runs. We definitely have our work cut out for us with that and getting a good race package setup for Sunday.”
In the first five minutes, Stenhouse bounced up to eighth followed by McMurray then Bayne. At the 10-minute mark, the top 10 remained the same. Cassill dropped to 11th followed by Newman Larson, Danica Patrick, Paul Menard, Chris Buescher, David Ragan, Corey LaJoie, Cole Whitt and Brett Moffitt.
“I started pretty tight on exit, the entry was good,” said Hamlin after 19 laps.
But drivers in time out became the hot topic in final practice with half the field waiting on pit road until their penalties expired. The top 10 speeds remained the same after the first 15 minutes, once the first round penalized drivers were released that pylon quickly changed.
Joey Logano, Michael McDowell, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Matt DiBenedetto, Ty Dillon and Dale Earnhardt Jr., had 15-minute holds for failing qualifying inspection twice.
Truex was the first driver to post a time after serving his penalty. He was eighth-quick on his first lap — 177.871mph. Harvick climbed up to sixth (178.359mph). Logano bounced up to ninth with his first lap (177.643mph).
Blaney dropped to 10th-quick followed by Stenhouse Jr., McMurray, Trevor Bayne, Landon Cassill and Ryan Newman. Kyle Larson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch and Paul Menard rounded out the top 20.
“Way too loose off the wall,” Earnhardt said ofter his 10th lap.
At the 30-minute mark, NASCAR released the final group of penalized drivers — Aric Almirola and Jimmie Johnson — both failed qualifying inspection twice at Chicagoland and Richmond, as well as Erik Jones who failed qualifying inspection three times. Jones jumped up to 14th-quick (176.765mph), Almirola climbed up to 21st (176.108mph) and Johnson (175.701mph) ended up 24th on the speed chart.
With 10 minutes remaining on the clock, Busch led the top 10. Larson had posted the 11th fastest lap (177.357mph) and his 43 circuits were the most completed. Stenhouse, McMurray, Jones, Bayne, Cassill, Newman, Daniel Suarez, Earnhardt and Patrick rounded out the top 20.
“It’s eight numbers tight center off,” Kyle Busch said on his final run. Elliott and McMurray’s 53 laps were the most completed in the final practice session leading into the Tales of the Turtles 400 on Sunday.
Twenty-six cars posted Best 10 Consecutive Lap Averages with Harvick leading the category with a speed of 175.784mph. Kyle Busch was second (175.667mph) followed by Elliott (175.363mph), Truex (175.119mph), Hamlin (174.739mph), Austin Dillon (174.717mph), Logano (177.548mph), Keselowski (174.534mph), Bowyer (174.517mph) and Larson (174.397mph).
|8||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||33||30.359||0.401||0.075||177.871|
|12||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||34||30.540||0.582||0.093||176.817|
|19||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||25||30.651||0.693||0.060||176.177|
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|Teams||Joe Gibbs Racing|