Ryan Newman leads final practice at Atlanta

The Rocketman appears to be back at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

After barely losing out on the pole, Ryan Newman posted the fastest lap (184.868mph) in Happy hour in the opening moments of final practice.

What’s the secret to his speed at the worn out 1.5-mile track?

“They haven’t changed it for the last 20 years,” said Newman, who completed 49 laps in five runs. “I just enjoy the racetrack. We’ve got a good racecar with our Liberty National Life Insurance Chevrolet. Obviously, the Camaro is strong out of the box, but wish we could have got that pole for them as well as us.

“Just in general look forward to this weekend. I think the drivers fought really hard last year to make sure this place didn’t get repaved and I think we are going to put up the same battle again this year.”

Martin Truex Jr., who failed the Optical Scanning System station during pre-qualifying inspection and missed time trials on Friday, was second-quick with a lap of 184.597mph. Both drivers completed nine laps on their initial runs.

Paul Menard was third-fastest in the first 15-minutes and also held his spot over the course of the one hour, 20-minute session.

“It’s a great surface,” Menard said. “I know they will have to repave it at some point, but I hope I’m retired when they do.”

Denny Hamlin ran fourth followed by Joey Logano and Jimmie Johnson, who went on a six-mile run with Ryan Dungey prior to Happy Hour.

“Jimmie’s been a good friend to me throughout my career,” Dungey said during a FOXSports interview. “Just a quality person.”

Chris Buescher was seventh on the board followed by Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer and Bubba Wallace.

“It’s been so low key, it’s been great,” Wallace said after his media blitz in Daytona. “I got to look back on last weekend and really enjoy it. This place is so different from Xfinity…We’re just taking it all in.”

The top 10 remained the same after the first 30-minutes. Bowyer’s 40 laps were the most completed. AJ Allmendinger, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Daniel Saurez, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Alex Bowman, Erik Jones, Kyle Larson and Aric Almirola rounded out the top 20 speeds.

Halfway through the 80-minute session, all 36 cars had posted laps. Michael McDowell’s 42 laps remained the most completed. Hendrick Motorsports had Byron, Bowman and Elliott work on pit road speeds. 

Logano’s 74 laps were the most completed in final practice.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 49 29.989     184.868
2 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 38 30.033 0.044 0.044 184.597
3 21 united_states Paul Menard  Ford 66 30.038 0.049 0.005 184.566
4 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 56 30.202 0.213 0.164 183.564
5 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 74 30.245 0.256 0.043 183.303
6 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 42 30.361 0.372 0.116 182.603
7 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 38 30.421 0.432 0.060 182.243
8 12 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 53 30.453 0.464 0.032 182.051
9 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 62 30.512 0.523 0.059 181.699
10 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 48 30.617 0.628 0.105 181.076
11 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 54 30.623 0.634 0.006 181.040
12 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 55 30.661 0.672 0.038 180.816
13 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 56 30.698 0.709 0.037 180.598
14 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 63 30.703 0.714 0.005 180.569
15 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 60 30.737 0.748 0.034 180.369
16 95 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 39 30.817 0.828 0.080 179.901
17 88 united_states Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 64 30.914 0.925 0.097 179.336
18 20 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 43 30.950 0.961 0.036 179.128
19 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 71 31.035 1.046 0.085 178.637
20 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 63 31.058 1.069 0.023 178.505
21 10 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 64 31.068 1.079 0.010 178.447
22 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 64 31.105 1.116 0.037 178.235
23 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 59 31.153 1.164 0.048 177.960
24 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 71 31.213 1.224 0.060 177.618
25 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 54 31.218 1.229 0.005 177.590
26 24 united_states William Byron  Chevrolet 49 31.219 1.230 0.001 177.584
27 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 56 31.223 1.234 0.004 177.561
28 9 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 56 31.326 1.337 0.103 176.978
29 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 60 31.407 1.418 0.081 176.521
30 34 united_states Michael McDowell  Ford 46 31.582 1.593 0.175 175.543
31 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 35 31.621 1.632 0.039 175.327
32 72 united_states Cole Whitt  Chevrolet 28 31.715 1.726 0.094 174.807
33 15 united_states Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 22 31.727 1.738 0.012 174.741
34 23 united_states Gray Gaulding  Toyota 12 33.120 3.131 1.393 167.391
35 51 united_states Harrison Rhodes  Chevrolet 20 33.208 3.219 0.088 166.948
36 00 united_states Jeffrey Earnhardt  Chevrolet 24 33.263 3.274 0.055 166.672

 

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Event Atlanta
Track Atlanta Motor Speedway
Drivers Ryan Newman
Teams Richard Childress Racing
Article type Practice report