Truex leads eventful Cup practice at Sonoma
Martin Truex Jr. jumped to the top of the speed chart in the final five minutes of first Monster Energy Cup practice at Sonoma Speedway on Friday.
Truex best speed in single-lap runs was 95.587mph after completing 21 laps.
Denny Hamlin was second followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chris Buescher, AJ Allmendinger, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson and Joey Logano.
Austin Dillon’s 32 laps were the most led in the session.
Bowyer was the fastest car of 15 cars in the first five minutes of practice with a speed of 93.338mph (76.753-seconds). He was running the same chassis that Tony Stewart won the SaveMart 350 with last year with modifications to accommodate the Ford engines.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. bumped the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford with his lap of 93.514mph (76.609-seconds).
Eight minutes into the session, Billy Johnson spun in his Cup debut with Richard Petty Motorsports. Johnson brought the car to the garage.
Thirty-one cars had established times when NASCAR released drivers with 15-minute practice holds — Kurt Busch, Erik Jones and Ty Dillon. Earnhardt still led the field followed by Bowyer, Truex (92.259mph), AJ Allmendinger (92.844mph) and Larson.
Just before the 30-minute mark, Jones reported he had a left front tire down. He wasn’t sure whether the flat occurred when he locked up his tires. Earnhardt still led the field and the top-five speeds had not changed. Jimmie Johnson was sixth quick with a time of 77.064-seconds followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (77.154-seconds), Trevor Bayne (77.190-seconds), Jamie McMurray (77.214-seconds) and Joey Logano (77.318-seconds).
Rookie Daniel Suarez, who had never been to Sonoma prior, completed 12 laps — the most of the 36 drivers.
The first caution of the practice came out 37 minutes into the session when Ty Dillon ran off course in Turn 2 and sprayed gravel on the course. NASCAR put the track back under green at the 42-minute mark.
After the first hour, Chris Buescher broke into the top-five with a lap of 76.954-seconds. He’d completed 21 circuits. Denny Hamlin vaulted over Larson with a lap of 77.037-seconds for sixth-quick. Larson, Johnson, Stenhouse and Bayne rounded out the top 10.
With 30-minutes remaining in practice, Earnhardt led the 115-minute session followed by Bowyer, Truex, Larson, Buescher, Allmendinger, Hamlin, Johnson, Stenhouse and Bayne. Buescher and Austin Dillon had completed 22 circuits — the most in the first 85 minutes.
Matt Kenseth stalled in Turn 10 with 29 minutes to go to trigger the second caution. Kenseth was 25th on the speed chart and had completed his 11th lap.
At one hour, 22 minutes into practice, Stenhouse bumped Earnhardt with a lap of 93.684mph, 76.470-seconds. With 20 minutes to go, Allmendinger moved up to third with a lap 93.422mph.
“Water temp, 225,” Dinger said. “It’s a little tight when it lands the nose, but it cuts when I need it to cut.”
Hamlin jumped up to P1 with a lap of 94.068mph with less than 15 minutes remaining in the session.
“Yeah, I’m happy with it,” Hamlin said.
Elliott broke into the top 10 with 12 minutes to go. He was 33rd prior to improving his lap to 93.320mph. Bowyer bounced back up to third. Kyle Busch moved up to seventh, followed by Logano, Kahne and Truex.
Elliott spun with eight minutes left in the session.
“I probably flat-spotted the tires,” he radioed to crew chief Alan Gustafson.
There was a different voice over the No. 2 Team Penske radio on Friday. Crew chief Paul Wolfe remained in North Carolina with his wife, Aleah, who just gave birth to their second child, Halle Lane. Brian Wilson will oversee Brad Keselowski’s efforts this weekend. Keselowski was 17th on the speed chart after the first session.
|1||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||20||75.740||94.587|
|3||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||18||76.470||0.730||0.312||93.684|
|5||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||24||76.609||0.869||0.075||93.514|
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About this article
|Drivers||Martin Truex Jr.|
|Teams||Furniture Row Racing|