Kyle Larson tops opening practice session at Kansas

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Kyle Larson tops opening practice session at Kansas
Lee Spencer
By: Lee Spencer
Oct 20, 2017, 6:40 PM

Kyle Larson led first practice at Kansas Speedway with a lap of 189.056mph.

Larson, who is third in the Monster Energy Cup Series standings, is looking to improve on his sixth-place finish in the spring.

“We had a good race here earlier in the year, and our mile-and-a-half cars have been good this season,” Larson said. “We just need to execute and that should put us in a good spot to advance to the next round.”

Kevin Harvick was second-quick followed by Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Daniel Suarez, Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer and Jamie McMurray.

Initially, drivers were slow to take to the track for the 85-minute session even though there was a lot on the line. There wasn’t just the pressure of attempting to dial in cars for qualifying, but also how teams lined up after time trials will determine pit stall selection for next weekend’s race at Martinsville — one of the tightest pit roads on the circuit. 

“For Martinsville, yeah, this is huge,” Jimmie Johnson said. “We all know how important that first pit box is. I’ve won plenty. I think I maybe won one or two from that first pit box, but I know it’s really useful and helpful when you have it. The few times I have been in that pit box, I mean you just need an okay pit stop and you roll off ahead of everybody.  

“I mean it is a big advantage and everybody is aware that today counts for that pit box. So, it does put a premium on today’s efforts. I know it’s not a double points day, but it’s a double something day for sure.”

In the first 10 minutes of practice, only 15 drivers had posted times with Keselowski on top of the speed chart with a lap of 183.268mph. Michael McDowell (182.825) was second-quick after two laps followed by Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick, Chris Buescher, Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Erik Jones, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Jamie  McMurray, Kasey Kahne, Aric Almirola, Trevor Bayne and Clint Bowyer. Two minutes later, Blaney topped the No. 2 Ford with a lap os 183.299mph after a four-lap run. 

Fifteen minutes in, Martin Truex Jr. vaulted to P1 on his first lap (186.239mph) followed by Matt Kenseth (183.905mph), Blaney, Keselowski, McDowell, Harvick (182.556mph), Buescher, Austin Dillon and Almirola. 

Dale Earnhardt Jr. tagged the wall in his ninth  lap and said, “I can’t lean on the right side at all.” 

Daniel Suarez jumped up to second on his first lap (185.109mph). Jimmie Johnson (185.090mph) and Kyle Busch (184.963mph) followed with the third and fourth-quick on first runs. 

After the first 30 minutes, 38 cars posted times. Truex remaining atop the leader board followed by Suarez, Johnson, Kyle Busch, McDowell, Kenseth, Blaney, Keselowski, Larson, Hamlin, Harvick, Buescher, Austin Dillon, Bowyer and Elliott. Almirola, Kurt Busch, Erik Jones, McMurray, Newman, Logano, Bayne, Stenhouse, Kahne and Earnhardt completed the top 25.

Changing leaderboard

Kyle Busch bumped up to the top of the speed chart with a lap of 186.458mph on his third lap to give Toyotas the top four speeds. Kurt Busch broke up the Camry party with a lap of 185.874mph — which moved him up to fourth. 

Larson’s 12th lap (186.981mph) of the session vaulted the No. 42 Chevy to the top of the chart just before the 50-minute mark. Larson ran through the middle of Turns 3 and 4 en route to his fast lap. Kyle Busch remained second, Truex third followed by Suarez, Kurt Busch, Kenseth, Harvick, Johnson, McMurray, Keselowski, Austin Dillon, McDowell, Buescher and Blaney. 

Kurt Busch bounced up to second-quick — 186.968mph — after 55-minutes. His teammate Harvick, jumped to P1 with a qualifying run of 187.169mph. 

Kyle Busch bumped Harvick with a lap of 187.331mph. With just over 15-minutes remaining, Blaney climbed to second-quick (187.182mph) followed by Harvick, Kurt Busch, Larson, Kenseth, Suarez, McMurray, Truex and Elliott. 

Harvick returned to the top spot with eight-minutes to go in the session with a speed of 187.500mph. Three minutes later, Larson returned to P1 with a lap of 189.056mph on his 16th circuit around the 1.5-mile track. 

“It’s definitely a little bit different just for the fact the (corner) entries are a little different than at most places,” Harvick said. “Turns three and four remind me of turns three and four at Chicagoland Speedway, but there’s a lot more grip and fresher asphalt than what Chicagoland has nowadays. It’s a very high-speed racetrack. You run the middle to the bottom of the racetrack. 

“But I’m sure, as time goes on, that the groove will move back up. But, for right now, it’s very fast and very sensitive to your line and, with all the speed and how tricky the entrance is into turn one, you can miss your line easily. So, you have to be very specific about where you put your car and pay attention to what you’re doing.”

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 16 28.563     189.056
2 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 9 28.800 0.237 0.237 187.500
3 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 7 28.826 0.263 0.026 187.331
4 21 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 16 28.849 0.286 0.023 187.182
5 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 9 28.858 0.295 0.009 187.123
6 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 10 28.870 0.307 0.012 187.045
7 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 7 28.870 0.307 0.000 187.045
8 20 united_states Matt Kenseth  Toyota 7 28.891 0.328 0.021 186.909
9 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 15 28.947 0.384 0.056 186.548
10 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 11 28.954 0.391 0.007 186.503
11 88 united_states Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Chevrolet 22 28.997 0.434 0.043 186.226
12 24 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 24 29.007 0.444 0.010 186.162
13 77 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 16 29.017 0.454 0.010 186.098
14 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 9 29.017 0.454 0.000 186.098
15 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 17 29.022 0.459 0.005 186.066
16 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 13 29.092 0.529 0.070 185.618
17 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 11 29.121 0.558 0.029 185.433
18 5 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 22 29.138 0.575 0.017 185.325
19 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 15 29.147 0.584 0.009 185.268
20 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 14 29.165 0.602 0.018 185.153
21 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 9 29.173 0.610 0.008 185.103
22 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 28 29.224 0.661 0.051 184.780
23 10 united_states Danica Patrick  Ford 13 29.251 0.688 0.027 184.609
24 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 13 29.252 0.689 0.001 184.603
25 43 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 14 29.258 0.695 0.006 184.565
26 27 united_states Paul Menard  Chevrolet 18 29.295 0.732 0.037 184.332
27 95 united_states Michael McDowell  Chevrolet 12 29.300 0.737 0.005 184.300
28 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 19 29.306 0.743 0.006 184.263
29 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 20 29.343 0.780 0.037 184.030
30 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 17 29.376 0.813 0.033 183.824
31 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 19 29.583 1.020 0.207 182.537
32 72 united_states Cole Whitt  Chevrolet 11 29.943 1.380 0.360 180.343
33 83 united_states Brett Moffitt  Toyota 5 29.991 1.428 0.048 180.054
34 34 united_states Landon Cassill  Ford 18 30.032 1.469 0.041 179.808
35 55 united_states Gray Gaulding  Toyota 7 30.045 1.482 0.013 179.730
36 23 united_states Corey Lajoie  Toyota 13 30.224 1.661 0.179 178.666
37 33 united_states Jeffrey Earnhardt  Chevrolet 18 30.466 1.903 0.242 177.247
38 15 united_states Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 23 30.765 2.202 0.299 175.524
39 51 united_states B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 5 30.779 2.216 0.014 175.444
40 00 united_states Derrike Cope  Chevrolet 10 31.760 3.197 0.981 170.025
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About this article

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