Larson tops incident-packed first practice at Charlotte

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Larson tops incident-packed first practice at Charlotte
Lee Spencer
By: Lee Spencer
Oct 6, 2017, 7:19 PM

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:

 

 

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 12 28.113     192.082
2 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 7 28.207 0.094 0.094 191.442
3 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 8 28.239 0.126 0.032 191.225
4 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 8 28.252 0.139 0.013 191.137
5 24 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 14 28.259 0.146 0.007 191.090
6 21 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 9 28.294 0.181 0.035 190.853
7 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 9 28.306 0.193 0.012 190.772
8 95 united_states Michael McDowell  Chevrolet 5 28.307 0.194 0.001 190.766
9 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 14 28.323 0.210 0.016 190.658
10 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 13 28.333 0.220 0.010 190.590
11 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 16 28.364 0.251 0.031 190.382
12 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 11 28.382 0.269 0.018 190.261
13 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 13 28.393 0.280 0.011 190.188
14 5 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 17 28.397 0.284 0.004 190.161
15 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 6 28.399 0.286 0.002 190.148
16 20 united_states Matt Kenseth  Toyota 8 28.402 0.289 0.003 190.127
17 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 6 28.420 0.307 0.018 190.007
18 77 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 8 28.424 0.311 0.004 189.980
19 27 united_states Paul Menard  Chevrolet 19 28.453 0.340 0.029 189.787
20 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 5 28.508 0.395 0.055 189.421
21 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 9 28.537 0.424 0.029 189.228
22 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 17 28.669 0.556 0.132 188.357
23 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 20 28.713 0.600 0.044 188.068
24 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 22 28.729 0.616 0.016 187.963
25 10 united_states Danica Patrick  Ford 20 28.756 0.643 0.027 187.787
26 88 united_states Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Chevrolet 8 28.757 0.644 0.001 187.780
27 43 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 6 28.796 0.683 0.039 187.526
28 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 18 28.876 0.763 0.080 187.007
29 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 15 28.950 0.837 0.074 186.528
30 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 12 29.133 1.020 0.183 185.357
31 72 united_states Cole Whitt  Chevrolet 11 29.360 1.247 0.227 183.924
32 34 united_states Landon Cassill  Ford 21 29.441 1.328 0.081 183.418
33 15 united_states Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 6 29.612 1.499 0.171 182.359
34 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 3 29.881 1.768 0.269 180.717
35 33 united_states Jeffrey Earnhardt  Chevrolet 15 29.977 1.864 0.096 180.138
36 66 united_states Timmy Hill  Chevrolet 1 30.077 1.964 0.100 179.539
37 51 united_states B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 7 30.204 2.091 0.127 178.784
38 55 united_states Gray Gaulding  Toyota 12 30.266 2.153 0.062 178.418
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About this article

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