Ryan Blaney leads Cup practice at Bristol; Harvick wrecks

Ryan Blaney led the way in Friday’s sole Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice session at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

Blaney, who earned his career-best 10th-place finish at Bristol last August, posted an average lap speed of 129.877 mph to top the 55-minute session. Erik Jones posted the same speed ended up ranked second based on driver points.

Kurt Busch bolted into the top three at the end of the session (129.657 mph). Last weekend’s race winner, Kyle Busch, was fourth and Kyle Larson completed the top-five.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Denny Hamlin, Alex Bowman, Brad Keselowski, David Ragan and Martin Truex Jr.

About 46 minutes into the session, Darrell Wallace Jr. tagged the wall, followed by Kevin Harvick, who appeared to break something in the left-side of his car, shot up the track and into the frontstretch wall.

“Something obviously either came off or broke in the front suspension," Harvick said. "It looks more like the right-front, to tell you the truth.  It definitely wasn’t a tire failure or anything like that, but just going in the corner as soon as I let off the gas it just hung a right, so it’s unfortunate for our Busch Beer/Jimmy John’s Ford, but we’ll get another one out and do it again.”

Harvick’s Stewart-Haas Racing team immediately brought out a backup car and he will have to start Sunday’s race from the rear of the field. Wallace’s Richard Petty Motorsports team was making repairs to his No. 43 Chevrolet.

In 34 prior Cup races at Bristol, the 2014 Cup champion’s worst start was 40th in the spring event in 2007. Driving for Richard Childress Racing at the time, Harvick climbed 36 spots to finish fourth.

With less than 15 minutes remaining in the session, A.J. Allmendinger appeared to hit the wall and spun off Turn 1. Allmendinger’s elected not to move to a backup car.

Tony Gibson has temporarily returned to a crew chief role at Stewart-Haas Racing this weekend working with driver Aric Almirola and the No. 10 Ford. Gibson is filling on for John Klausmeier, who remained in Mooresville for the birth of his child.

Almirola was 12th-fastest in the session.

Four drivers – Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Larson and Reed Sorenson – had to sit out the final 15 minutes of the session. All four teams failed pre-race inspection at Texas last weekend.

Bristol has already applied the PJ1 traction compound to the track surface. It was laid down this weekend to the bottom four feet of the racing surface (it has gone as high as eight feet in the past).

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 12 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 10 14.774     129.146
2 20 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 23 14.774 0.000 0.000 129.146
3 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 14 14.799 0.025 0.025 128.928
4 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 15 14.822 0.048 0.023 128.728
5 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 17 14.840 0.066 0.018 128.571
6 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 21 14.842 0.068 0.002 128.554
7 88 united_states Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 20 14.859 0.085 0.017 128.407
8 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 11 14.874 0.100 0.015 128.278
9 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 18 14.875 0.101 0.001 128.269
10 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 11 14.883 0.109 0.008 128.200
11 95 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 19 14.936 0.162 0.053 127.745
12 10 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 18 14.939 0.165 0.003 127.719
13 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 32 14.957 0.183 0.018 127.566
14 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 15 14.963 0.189 0.006 127.515
15 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 11 14.971 0.197 0.008 127.446
16 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 12 14.977 0.203 0.006 127.395
17 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 16 14.981 0.207 0.004 127.361
18 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 13 14.991 0.217 0.010 127.276
19 34 united_states Michael McDowell  Ford 22 15.018 0.244 0.027 127.048
20 21 united_states Paul Menard  Ford 15 15.026 0.252 0.008 126.980
21 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 24 15.031 0.257 0.005 126.938
22 24 united_states William Byron  Chevrolet 22 15.032 0.258 0.001 126.929
23 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 16 15.040 0.266 0.008 126.862
24 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 14 15.044 0.270 0.004 126.828
25 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 15 15.075 0.301 0.031 126.567
26 9 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 12 15.093 0.319 0.018 126.416
27 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 10 15.139 0.365 0.046 126.032
28 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 15 15.140 0.366 0.001 126.024
29 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 16 15.211 0.437 0.071 125.436
30 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 27 15.213 0.439 0.002 125.419
31 00 united_states Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 24 15.246 0.472 0.033 125.148
32 23 united_states Gray Gaulding  Toyota 19 15.254 0.480 0.008 125.082
33 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 15 15.266 0.492 0.012 124.984
34 15 united_states Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 18 15.294 0.520 0.028 124.755
35 96 canada D.J. Kennington  Toyota 22 15.566 0.792 0.272 122.575
36 55 united_states Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 11 15.604 0.830 0.038 122.276
37 66 united_states Chad Finchum  Toyota 20 15.725 0.951 0.121 121.335
38 72 united_states Corey Lajoie  Chevrolet 13 15.741 0.967 0.016 121.212
39 51 united_states Harrison Rhodes  Chevrolet 30 15.770 0.996 0.029 120.989
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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Event Bristol
Track Bristol Motor Speedway
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Ryan Blaney
Article type Practice report