Ryan Blaney led final practice with a lap of 182.057mph at Kansas Speedway on Saturday.
Hopefully, the speed will serve him well on Sunday. Blaney's qualifying time was disallowed after NASCAR officials discovered the package tray on the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford was bowed during inspection. He will start at the rear of the field for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400.
Blaney, who originally qualified third, said track position would be huge for the race. His consolation prize rediscovering that speed in Happy Hour.
Kyle Busch was second-quick followed by Kevin Harvick, Daniel Suarez, Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer, Erik Jones, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski and Jamie McMurray.
Keselowski was the first driver on the track followed by Martin Truex Jr., and Blaney, who shot to the top of the speed chart with a lap of 182.057mph. Kyle Busch quickly moved up to second-quick (181.843mph) followed by Suarez (181.665mph), Kenseth (181.543mph), Bowyer (181.452mph), Jones (181.421mph), Keselowski (181.202mph), Chris Buescher (181.172mph), Truex (181.074mph) and Joey Logano (180.929mph).
After the first five minutes, the top 10 remained the same, while Jimmie Johnson ran 11th (180.892mph), followed by Austin Dillon, AJ Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Kasey Kahne.
Kyle Larson, who led the first two sessions, was 13th-quick on his first lap then bounced up to seventh (181.232mph). He was bumped to eighth by Kevin Harvick, who vaulted to third on his first run with a fast-single lap speed of 181.720mph.
Before the 15-minute practice holds were released by NASCAR, Blaney continued to hold the top single-lap speed after 12 laps followed by Kyle Busch, Harvick, Suarez, Kenseth, Bowyer, Jones, Larson, Keselowski and Buescher.
Derrike Cope, Jamie McMurray, Trevor Bayne, Chase Elliott, Paul Menard and Aric Almirola were released from the penalty box. McMurray moved up to P15 on his first run (180.693mph). Elliott was initially 25th (179.063mph) followed by Bayne (27th), Menard (28th) and Cope was 30th.
As teams concentrated on long runs, Suarez 35 circuits were the most posted after 30-minutes in the session. McMurray ran 11th followed by Truex, Logano, Johnson, Austin Dillon, Kurt Busch, AJ Allmendinger, Ryan Newman, Hamlin, Earnhardt and Stenhouse, who brushed the wall on his penultimate run.
McMurray climbed up to 10th with a quick single-lap speed with 10 minutes remaining. With less than five minutes into the session, Daniel Hemric climbed into the No. 27 Chevy to get a feel for the car in case he has to fill in for Menard, who is on baby watch.
“Yeah, obviously first off that is a cool situation for Paul and his wife waiting on the birth of their second child," Hemric said. "So, that has got to be exciting. I’m just lucky to have the call to hopefully get in when the time comes and if it comes during the race weekend. So, just trying to take all the precautions possible to be ready if that time does happen here this weekend or whatever weekend it is moving forward. Just excited to be part of it.”
|12||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||38||29.822||0.161||0.016||181.074|
|21||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||43||29.961||0.300||0.007||180.234|
|22||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||34||29.979||0.318||0.018||180.126|