Kyle Larson tops final practice at Kentucky

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Kyle Larson tops final practice at Kentucky
Lee Spencer
By: Lee Spencer
Jul 7, 2017, 6:40 PM

Chip Ganassi Racing was the class of the field for both Monster Energy Cup Series practices on Friday.

After Jamie McMurray posted the top lap in first practice at Kentucky Speedway, Kyle Larson ran the fast lap in Happy Hour — 188.186mph.

“It’s always a little hard to get back to tracks where were we only race once a year, but fortunately my teammate, Jamie McMurray, had a good test at Kentucky a few months ago,” said Larson, who completed a tour-high 41 laps during the session. “That test should give our team some current info to help with setup…Kentucky is definitely a tough track with some challenging banking, but a cool place to race. I hope we can continue our solid runs and contend for a win this weekend.”

Martin Truex Jr. was second quick followed by Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, McMurray, Bubba Wallace and Clint Bowyer.

McMurray established the early quick speed in final practice with a top lap of 181.867mph after five circuits. After 10 minutes, Elliott jumped to the top of the speed chart with a lap of 183.499mph followed by his Hendrick teammate Johnson and the Hendrick-powered Larson. Daniel Suarez, Blaney, McMurray, Joey Logano, Bowyer, AJ Allmendinger and Chris Buescher rounded out the top 10.

After being held for 15 minutes of practice for failing inspection at Daytona, Brad Keselowski, Trevor Bayne, Kurt Busch, Bubba Wallace, Cole Whitt and Ryan Sieg were released. Elliott remained on top, Suarez moved to second followed by Johnson, Larson, Keselowski, Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Mcmurray, Bowyer and Logano rounded out the top 10.

Bubba Wallace vaulted to P1 with a lap of 184.395mph in his first lap of a qualifying run. He told TV this was his last race of the year — with the recovering Aric Almirola expected to return to the seat of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“Being on top of the board for practice is a first for me,” Wallace said. “We’re trying to get the top starting spot for Ford.”

Elliott dropped to second followed by Hamlin, Suarez, Johnson, Larson, McMurray, Keselowski, Blaney and Kurt Busch. NASCAR freed the second round of practice holds after 30-minutes. Kyle Busch, Erik Jones and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., hit the track. Truex was let go five minutes later.

Kyle Busch bumped Wallace with a lap of 185.573mph. Jones’s first lap was good for third (183.524mph) then Truex vaulted to second on his first lap (184.716mph) and knocked Jones to fourth. Stenhouse completed his Q-run and seized second-place on the speed chart at the 40-minute mark. Four minutes later, NASCAR finally allowed Matt Kenseth to leave pit road. Kenseth posted the fifth-fastest speed in his mock qualifying run.

After 50 minutes, Kyle Busch held the top speed followed by Stenhouse, Truex, Wallace, Kenseth, Johnson, Jones, Elliott, Hamlin and Larson. Larson’s 37 laps were the most completed. Blaney shot to the top two minutes later on his 23rd lap. Bowyer claimed on his Q-run.

Before the 55-minute mark, Johnson topped Blaney. Truex then bumped Johnson. Kyle Busch moved to second at the one-hour mark. Johnson, Kenseth and Blaney held onto the top-five single lap speeds. Moments later, Elliott ran the seventh-fastest lap — 185.675mph.

(Turns) 1 and 2 were pretty good,” Elliott said. “A tick free going into (turn) 3.”

At one hour, 10 minutes into final practice, Larson bounced up to P1 with a single-lap run of 188.186mph. Seventy-five minutes in, Truex returned to second. Elliott, Blaney and Kyle Busch held onto the top five.

Larson also topped the Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average category with a speed of 181.516mph. Johnson, Keselowski, Elliott, Blaney, Suarez, Michael McDowell, McMurray, Kurt Busch and Logano rounded out the top 10.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 41 28.695     188.186
2 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 9 28.848 0.153 0.153 187.188
3 24 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 29 28.892 0.197 0.044 186.903
4 21 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 28 28.961 0.266 0.069 186.458
5 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 9 28.991 0.296 0.030 186.265
6 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 39 28.999 0.304 0.008 186.213
7 20 united_states Matt Kenseth  Toyota 7 29.018 0.323 0.019 186.091
8 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 27 29.018 0.323 0.000 186.091
9 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Ford 8 29.042 0.347 0.024 185.938
10 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 23 29.051 0.356 0.009 185.880
11 77 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 15 29.113 0.418 0.062 185.484
12 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 6 29.128 0.433 0.015 185.389
13 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 37 29.139 0.444 0.011 185.319
14 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 15 29.166 0.471 0.027 185.147
15 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 34 29.210 0.515 0.044 184.868
16 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 22 29.228 0.533 0.018 184.754
17 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 19 29.246 0.551 0.018 184.641
18 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 33 29.272 0.577 0.026 184.477
19 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 25 29.280 0.585 0.008 184.426
20 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 25 29.437 0.742 0.157 183.443
21 5 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 34 29.452 0.757 0.015 183.349
22 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 20 29.458 0.763 0.006 183.312
23 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 28 29.515 0.820 0.057 182.958
24 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 22 29.565 0.870 0.050 182.648
25 88 united_states Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Chevrolet 49 29.591 0.896 0.026 182.488
26 27 united_states Paul Menard  Chevrolet 24 29.611 0.916 0.020 182.365
27 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 39 29.731 1.036 0.120 181.629
28 10 united_states Danica Patrick  Ford 37 29.739 1.044 0.008 181.580
29 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 23 29.836 1.141 0.097 180.989
30 95 united_states Michael McDowell  Chevrolet 36 30.006 1.311 0.170 179.964
31 83 united_states Ryan Sieg  Toyota 29 30.256 1.561 0.250 178.477
32 33 united_states Jeffrey Earnhardt  Chevrolet 3 30.385 1.690 0.129 177.719
33 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 9 30.388 1.693 0.003 177.702
34 34 united_states Landon Cassill  Ford 13 30.431 1.736 0.043 177.451
35 15 united_states Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 13 30.457 1.762 0.026 177.299
36 23 united_states Joey Gase  Toyota 21 30.549 1.854 0.092 176.765
37 72 united_states Cole Whitt  Chevrolet 13 30.738 2.043 0.189 175.678
38 51 united_states B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 6 30.986 2.291 0.248 174.272
39 55 united_states Gray Gaulding  Toyota 12 31.254 2.559 0.268 172.778
40 66 united_states Timmy Hill  Chevrolet 13 31.457 2.762 0.203 171.663
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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Kentucky
Location Kentucky Speedway
Drivers Kyle Larson
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing
Author Lee Spencer
Article type Practice report