Ryan Blaney leads Saturday morning Cup practice

Ryan Blaney leads Saturday morning Cup practice
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
May 27, 2017, 2:11 PM

Ryan Blaney led the way in Saturday morning’s first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice session as he attempts to collect his first win in the series’ longest race.

Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Erik Jones, Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota

Blaney, who starts seventh in Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, posted an average lap speed of 188.055 mph very early in the 55-minute session.

Erik Jones posted the second-fastest speed (187.598 mph) but with about six minutes remaining in the session, he radioed to his team that he thought “something broke” on his No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota and drove directly to his garage stall for his team to inspect the car.

Martin Truex Jr., who dominated last year’s 600, was third-fastest, rookie Daniel Suarez was fourth and Trevor Bayne was fifth.

Pole-winner Kevin Harvick ended up with the ninth-fastest lap.

Some teams did make a conscious effort to begin running in the high groove in the corners, which the track has been treating with a VHT resin this week to help improve the grip.

“There's definitely more grip up there,” driver Landon Cassill said over his team radio, but he noted he didn’t think it was as fast as he thought it would be.

Eight cars began the 55-minute session with the loss of 15 minutes of practice due to pre-qualifying inspection issues from Thursday: Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard, David Ragan, Kurt Busch, Larson, Corey LaJoie and Chris Buescher.

Buescher also lost pit stall selection for Sunday’s race.

Truex led the way in best average speed among those who ran at least 10 consecutive laps (184.886 mph). Kyle Busch was second and Kyle Larson - who will start from the rear of Sunday's race because he failed to clear inspection prior to qualifying - was third.

1 21 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 26 28.715     188.055
2 77 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 12 28.785 0.070 0.070 187.598
3 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 24 28.864 0.149 0.079 187.084
4 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 28 28.902 0.187 0.038 186.838
5 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 27 28.995 0.280 0.093 186.239
6 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 22 29.000 0.285 0.005 186.207
7 5 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 24 29.043 0.328 0.043 185.931
8 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 30 29.045 0.330 0.002 185.918
9 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 18 29.100 0.385 0.055 185.567
10 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 24 29.114 0.399 0.014 185.478

CLICK HERE for complete practice results


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