Larson tops incident-packed first practice at Charlotte
Kyle Larson claims he’s been hit or miss at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
On Friday, he hit the top of the speed chart with a lap of 192.082mph after 12 laps in first practice for the Bank of America 500.
“Charlotte has been kind of a hit or miss track for me, but I’m usually pretty good during the day there, so hopefully a day race will favor me,” Larson said. “We obviously want to win in each round and not have to worry about the points, but if we can continue to be consistent and finish around the top-five, we should put ourselves in a good position to move on. We just need to stay focused and work to be mistake free this weekend.”
Ryan Newman was second followed by Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Michael McDowell, Jamie McMurray and Kurt Busch.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. plowed into the Turn 4 wall working his fifth lap in practice. He’d posted a quick lap of 187.780mph before the car snapped loose. The No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team pulled out Earnhardt’s back up car.
“There was nothing I could do, it just took off,” Earnhardt said. “I got into this black stuff and it just took off into the fence. I think the car was pretty good, but had to pull a back-up out. It should be fine though. It’s a good thing that it happened early and we will get to practice tomorrow and get to work on it.”
The race returned to green with 85-minutes remaining in the session. Michael McDowell’s lap of 190.255mph was fastest followed by Larson, Elliott, Kurt Busch, Earnhardt, Almirola, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, AJ Allmendinger, Austin Dillon, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Danica Patrick, Joey Logano, Trevor Bayne, Chris Buescher and Ty Dillon. Ryan Blaney was the next driver to top the chart (190.853mph) just after the 11-minute mark. Hamlin followed with a lap of 191.137mph.
In the first 15-minutes, Hamlin retained the top spot followed by Blaney, McDowell, Erik Jones (189.954mph), Bowyer (189.003mph), Larson (188.009mph), Elliott (187.846mph) Kurt Busch (187.846mph) and Earnhardt.
Over the next five minutes, Kyle Busch posted the fifth-fastest lap (190.007mph) and Keselowski speed of 189.421mph was seventh quick.
NASCAR called a caution for possible oil in Turn 4 at the 20-minute mark. Ten minutes later, practice continued with 34 drivers making initial runs. Hamlin remained on top of the speed chart followed by Blaney, Ryan Newman (190.611mph), McDowell, Busch, Jones, Keselowski, Bowyer, Larson and Elliott.
Kurt Busch, Earnhardt, Martin Truex Jr. (187.546mph), Aric Almirola, Kevin Harvick (187.292mph), Daniel Suarez and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top 20 speeds.
Keselowski lost the back end of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford coming out of Turn 4 on his third lap. After the track was clean, Newman shot to the top of the speed chart with a lap of 191.442mph.
Jimmie Johnson posted his first laps 45 minutes into first practice. He was initially 11th-quick with his two-lap run (188.587mph) before Jamie McMurray bumped him with a lap of 188.983mph. Truex knocked both drivers down the board with his lap of 189.274mph.
Larson (192.082mph) bumped Newman from the top spot just prior to the one-hour mark. Hamlin dropped to third followed by Blaney, McDowell, Bowyer, Austin Dillon, Kahne, Kyle Busch and Jones.
NASCAR called Kyle Busch to the hauler for speeding on pit road just after the first hour. He’s completed four laps.
Earnhardt returned to the track in his back up car 65 minutes into practice. He ran two laps with a top speed of 187.376mph. Larson held the top spot as driver continued making mock qualifying runs. Harvick bounced up to third (191.225mph) at the 70-minute mark. Hamlin dropped to fourth followed by Blaney, McDowell, McMurray (190.658mph), Allmendinger, Bowyer and Dillon. Elliott vaulted to fifth (191.090mph).
With 10 minutes to go, Kyle Busch pounded the wall in Turn 4. He was the fourth driver to struggle in Turn 4 along with Earnhardt, Keselowski and David Ragan.
“Done,” Busch told the team as NASCAR waved the yellow again.
After his first run Busch remarked that the VHT was too slick. “The juice sucks, it's really bad. It’s because they didn't use the tire dragon on it to burn it in.”
Truex moved up to seventh (190.772mph) over the final 10 minutes.
Watch Dale Earnhardt Jr. have trouble early in the practice session:
Kyle Busch also had trouble in the first practice session:
Brad Keselowski also went for a spin:
|7||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||9||28.306||0.193||0.012||190.772|
|26||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||8||28.757||0.644||0.001||187.780|
|29||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||15||28.950||0.837||0.074||186.528|
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About this article
|Location||Charlotte Motor Speedway|
|Teams||Chip Ganassi Racing|