Rookie Chase Elliott tops Michigan practice
Rookie Chase Elliott jumped to the top of the speed chart in the final 10 minutes of first practice at Michigan International Speedway on Friday.
Elliott posted a lap of 201.630 mph (35.709-seconds) in qualifying trim with the new lower aerodynamic package that NASCAR is looking to race full-time in 2017.
Martin Truex Jr. was the first driver to reach the 200-mile-per-hour-plus mark - 15 minutes into the session. Truex, who was second in the session with a speed of (201.314 mph) used his experience from the confirmation tire test at the two-mile track to expedite his learning curve with the modifications to the car.
“We did learn a few things,” Truex said. “I think the biggest thing was just off-throttle time was more and middle of the corner speed was slower and straightaway speed was a little faster. Just more in the same direction we went from last year’s package to what we’re racing now.
“Definitely another step in a direction we’re all looking for so should be a lot of fun. I think everybody is really excited and optimistic about the weekend to see what it’s all about and learn about the new package and try to figure it out. Hopefully the racing will be what we hope and it should be a lot of fun.”
Carl Edwards, who was third with a lap of 201.218 mph, was pleased with new feel of his car.
“We have a pretty fast car, look at the spoiler it’s awesome,” Edwards said on the MRN broadcast. “It’s so much fun to drive. I can’t say enough about NASCAR doing this.
“We’re slower in the corner, which sounds like it would be easier but it’s harder to drive…this direction is great.”
The Chevys of Dale Earnhardt Jr. (201.213 mph) and Kevin Harvick (200.904 mph) rounded out the top five speeds in qualifying. Denny Hamlin (sixth, 200.798 mph), Austin Dillon (200.697 mph), Brad Keselowski (200.674 mph), Jimmie Johnson (200.568 mph), defending race winner Kurt Busch (200.295 mph), rookie Ryan Blaney (200.200 mph) and AJ Allmendinger. (200.089 mph) all broke the 200-mile-per-hour-barrier in single lap runs.
Only two drivers — Kyle Busch (194.145 mph) and Ty Dillon (190.122 mph) completed enough circuits to qualify for the Best 10 Lap Consecutive Average.
Stat analysis: Has Roush Fenway lost its Michigan Magic?
Truex remains hopeful he’ll re-sign with Furniture Row
About this article