Championship favorite Martin Truex Jr. leads final practice

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Championship favorite Martin Truex Jr. leads final practice
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Nov 18, 2017, 7:06 PM

Martin Truex Jr. ended the final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice session how he spent much of the season – at the top.

Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford

Truex – one of the four drivers competing for the series championship in Sunday’s Ford 400 season finale – led the way in Saturday’s final practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

His average single lap speed of 171.195 mph was posted early in the session and easily topped second place Clint Bowyer (169.790 mph).

Truex, who will start second in Sunday’s race, said he was been anxiously awaiting the chance to add his first series championship to his racing career resume.

“I’ve been waiting for Homestead since this weekend in 2015,” Truex said. “Honestly, since that race was over, it was like, ‘alright.’ From there, we’ve been working since to get back here and have another shot at it.”

The other three title contenders – Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick – ended up sixth, 11th and 18th-fastest, respectively, in the final session.

Kyle Busch ended up fastest among the 31 drivers who ran at least 10 consecutive laps in the final practice session. He led the way with an average lap speed of 164.681 mph. He was followed by Truex, Hamlin, Harvick and Kyle Larson.

Harvick and Keselowski both cut short their practice sessions after feeling comfortable with how their cars were performing.

Harvick, who was particularly pleased with the long-run speed of his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing, said having a shot at a second series title was somewhat of a surprise.

“I would tell you three months ago that there was no way we would be in this position,” Harvick said. “It’s a huge tribute to Stewart-Haas Racing and Ford to get the cars to the level where we felt we could compete for races and for the championship.

“Then we go to Texas and beat (Truex), win the race and here we are.”

Pole-winner Denny Hamlin was third-fastest, rookie Erik Jones was fourth and Ryan Blaney completed the top-five.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will compete in his final race on Sunday, was seventh-fastest.

The teams of Austin Dillon and Matt DiBenedetto were forced to miss the first 15 minutes of final practice after each failed qualifying inspection twice this weekend. Harvick, Chase Elliott, David Starr and Cole Whitt each missed the first 15 minutes of the session due to failing pre-race inspection twice at Phoenix last weekend.

The teams of David Ragan, Jimmie Johnson and Michael McDowell were each forced to miss the first 30 minutes of final practice after they all failed qualifying inspection three times this weekend.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 41 31.543     171.195
2 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 33 31.804 0.261 0.261 169.790
3 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 52 31.807 0.264 0.003 169.774
4 77 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 40 31.817 0.274 0.010 169.721
5 21 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 36 31.849 0.306 0.032 169.550
6 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 54 31.860 0.317 0.011 169.492
7 88 united_states Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Chevrolet 38 31.884 0.341 0.024 169.364
8 20 united_states Matt Kenseth  Toyota 47 31.907 0.364 0.023 169.242
9 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 51 31.943 0.400 0.036 169.051
10 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 45 31.981 0.438 0.038 168.850
11 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 42 31.986 0.443 0.005 168.824
12 5 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 36 32.083 0.540 0.097 168.313
13 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 25 32.098 0.555 0.015 168.235
14 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 38 32.123 0.580 0.025 168.104
15 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 46 32.133 0.590 0.010 168.052
16 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 48 32.166 0.623 0.033 167.879
17 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 51 32.199 0.656 0.033 167.707
18 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 40 32.375 0.832 0.176 166.795
19 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 31 32.379 0.836 0.004 166.775
20 43 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 33 32.411 0.868 0.032 166.610
21 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 38 32.517 0.974 0.106 166.067
22 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 34 32.560 1.017 0.043 165.848
23 27 united_states Paul Menard  Chevrolet 40 32.681 1.138 0.121 165.234
24 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 42 32.688 1.145 0.007 165.198
25 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 34 32.740 1.197 0.052 164.936
26 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 31 32.773 1.230 0.033 164.770
27 24 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 35 32.774 1.231 0.001 164.765
28 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 21 32.865 1.322 0.091 164.309
29 95 united_states Michael McDowell  Chevrolet 20 33.079 1.536 0.214 163.246
30 10 united_states Danica Patrick  Ford 37 33.089 1.546 0.010 163.196
31 15 united_states Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 22 33.103 1.560 0.014 163.127
32 34 united_states Landon Cassill  Ford 41 33.127 1.584 0.024 163.009
33 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 25 33.204 1.661 0.077 162.631
34 72 united_states Cole Whitt  Chevrolet 19 33.608 2.065 0.404 160.676
35 23 united_states Corey Lajoie  Toyota 22 33.880 2.337 0.272 159.386
36 33 united_states Jeffrey Earnhardt  Chevrolet 23 34.145 2.602 0.265 158.149
37 83 united_states Joey Gase    21 34.411 2.868 0.266 156.927
38 66 united_states David Starr  Chevrolet 19 35.280 3.737 0.869 153.061
39 51 united_states Ray Black Jr.  Chevrolet 4 35.410 3.867 0.130 152.499

 

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Homestead
Location Homestead-Miami Speedway
Drivers Martin Truex Jr.
Teams Furniture Row Racing
Author Jim Utter
Article type Practice report