Ryan Blaney leads opening Texas practice with near 200mph lap
Ryan Blaney barely missed the 200-mile-per-hour mark in first practice at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday.
On his sixth-run of the 85-minute session, Blaney posted a single-lap speed of 199.933mph breaking the previous track pole-record set by Matt Kenseth in the 2014 AAA Texas 500. The top qualifying track record was set by Tony Stewart (200.111mph) in the second round of the same qualifying session.
Denny Hamlin was second-quick followed by Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Kenseth, Chaes Elliott, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson.
Joey Gase’s 34 laps were the most completed during the session.
Kenseth (191.076mph) topped the speed chart in the opening minutes of the session, but Joey Logano bumped the No. 20 Toyota with a lap of 191.20mph. Earnhardt was the next driver to vault to the top on his first run with a single-lap speed of 192.871mph.
On his fifth lap, Ryan Blaney cruised to the top spot (193.292mph) only to be knocked off by Chase Elliott’s lap of 193.771mph.
After the first 10 minutes, 28 drivers had posted laps with Elliott P1 followed by Larson (193.750mph), Blaney, Kurt Busch, Earnhardt, Keselowski (194.602mph), Bowyer (193.882mph), Erik Jones (194.049mph), Landon Cassill (191.211mph) and Logano.
Jimmie Johnson attempted to post a lap but had no fuel pressure with the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevy and had to return to the garage.
Larson posted the fastest lap (195.858mph) on his second run. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., jumped to P1 with a lap of 196.628mph following his first five-lap run just before the 25-minute mark. Larson remained second followed by Blaney, Elliott, Earnhardt, Kurt Busch, Keselowski, Logano (194.532mph) and Kasey Kahne (194.510mph).
Thirty minutes into the session, Kyle Busch moved up to second (196.249mph) but was bumped by Truex (196.471mph). Larson dropped to fourth followed by Blaney, Elliott, Earnhardt, Kurt Busch and Keselowski. Logano ran 11th followed by Kahne, Jones, Harvick, Bowyer, AJ Allmendinger, Denny Hamlin, Chris Buescher, Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon.
Johnson remained in the garage as the team worked to replace his fuel cell. After the 35-minute mark, Johnson attempted to make his second run but reported he had single-digit numbers on his fuel pressure gauge.
“It’s fine in the garage, it’s just having trouble getting going, going wide open,” Johnson radioed to the crew. “I don’t know if it’s the throttle position or what.”
Stenhouse remained atop the pylon after 40 minutes of practice. Kenseth (197.477mph)
moved back to second after his fourth lap. Truex, Busch, Elliott, Larson, Blaney, Jamie McMurray, Earnhardt and Kurt Busch completed the top 10 as drivers worked on qualifying runs.
Kenseth posted the quick-speed of 198.749mph before the 50-minute mark. Truex was second (198.690mph) followed by Blaney (198.413mph), Stenhouse, McMurray (197.795mph), Earnhardt (197.571mph), Kahne (196.807mph), Allmendinger (196.738mph), Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch.
Kurt Busch posted the fastest lap (199.181mph) after the first hour of practice — but was topped by Blaney’s mock qualifying run of 199.498mph. Johnson still had yet to post a lap as the team continued to work on the fuel system issue.
With 15 minutes remaining, Blaney led the session followed by Kurt Busch, Kenseth, Truex, Stenhouse, Elliott, Harvick, McMurray, Earnhardt and Keselowski. Moments later, Truex returned to third-fastest (198.939mph).At one hour, 11 minutes, Johnson headed out to pit road for the third time. Two minutes later, Johnson posted his first lap. He was 27th on the speed chart (193.868mph) after his shake down lap and returned to the garage with 10 minutes to go in the session. Johnson returned to the track with five minutes to go. He moved up to 19th on his third lap — 196.428mph.
Denny Hamlin climbed to second in the closing minutes with a lap of 199.196mph.
Daniel Hemric, who was subbing for Paul Menard, was 28th-quick (195.178mph)after his first full Monster Energy Cup Series practice session. Hemric will also qualify the No. 27 Chevy while Menard is on maternity leave. Menard is expected to return for Happy Hour and Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300.
|4||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||11||27.142||0.133||0.031||198.954|
|7||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||12||27.227||0.218||0.057||198.333|
|12||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||19||27.327||0.318||0.026||197.607|
|37||51||Ray Black Jr.||Chevrolet||15||28.919||1.910||0.627||186.728|
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About this article
|Location||Texas Motor Speedway|
|Teams||Wood Brothers Racing|
|Article type||Practice report|