Truex leads first NASCAR Cup practice at Kansas

Truex leads first NASCAR Cup practice at Kansas
Lee Spencer
By: Lee Spencer
May 12, 2017, 4:42 PM

Martin Truex Jr. posted the fastest single-lap speed in first practice at Kansas Speedway on Friday.

He topped the speed chart with a lap of 185.065mph and ran a total of 12 circuits.

“It definitely feels better than it used to,” Truex said of the 1.5-mile track. “The groove is pretty wide. We’re just going through a few changes, trying to get the balance where we want it.”

Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Trevor Bayne and Chase Elliott rounded out the top 10 single lap speeds.

In the first 10 minutes, Blaney established a quick lap of 184.932mph (29.2-sec.) after six laps. Harvick, Bayne, Elliott and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five.

Before the 15-minute mark, Clint Bowyer’s spotter Brett Griffin told the driver to come back to the garage. The team discovered Bowyer had a piece of metal in his right front tire. He returned to the track and was 17th quick.

The following drivers were released after 15-minute holds: Kyle Busch, Corey LaJoie (deferred from Talladega), Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson, Chris Buescher (Talladega pre-race inspection). Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose car failed pre-race inspection three times at Talladega, was held for 15minutes and forfeited pit selection. Erik Jones, who missed Friday’s rookie meeting at Kansas Speedway, was also held for 15minutes.

Matt Kenseth jumped up to second with a lap of (29.263-sec) before the 20-minute mark. Harvick remained third followed by Bayne, Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Keselowski, Truex Jr., and Kurt Busch.

Truex leapfrogged over Blaney at the 26-minute mark. Kyle Busch moved up to eighth (183.974mph) and knocked his brother out of the top-10 single lap speeds.

Thirty-one minutes into the session, Earnhardt radioed to the No. 88 team, “I wrecked it. I almost wrecked it in (turn 2).” Earnhardt had completed 14 laps and was fifth on the speed chart at that time with a lap of 184.451mph. Jimmie Johnson, who was behind Earnhardt, had to check up to save his car.

With 15 minutes remaining, Truex was still the fastest in single-lap runs followed by Blaney and Jones — but seconds later, after completing his 10th lap, the No. 77 Toyota spun off of Turn 4 into the grass. Jones’ blew out his right-side tires and damaged the splitter. NASCAR put the track under caution — then red-flagged practice.

“It was pretty loose on entry,” Jones said. “It was pretty loose before that. We’ll get it fixed up before next practice.

Kenseth, Harvick, Earnhardt, Bayne, Elliott, Kyle Busch and Johnson had the top 10 speeds when practice returned to green. Earnhardt ran seven additional laps and told his crew, “I don’t think (the car) is too bad.”

Michael McDowell’s car blew up with less than five minutes remaining in the session.

“I’m not sure, something broke, something big,” said McDowell, who felt a vibration prior to the engine blowing.

Danica Patrick’s 28 laps were the most completed during the session. She was 29th on the speed chart.

Three drivers established Best 10 Consecutive Lap Averages. Earnhardt led the category with an average speed of 182.216mph, followed by Elliott (181.400mph) and Gray Gaulding (175.470mph).

1 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 12 29.179     185.065
2 21 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 19 29.200 0.021 0.021 184.932
3 77 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 10 29.253 0.074 0.053 184.596
4 20 united_states Matt Kenseth  Toyota 26 29.263 0.084 0.010 184.533
5 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 18 29.275 0.096 0.012 184.458
6 88 united_states Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Chevrolet 21 29.276 0.097 0.001 184.451
7 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 8 29.278 0.099 0.002 184.439
8 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 15 29.293 0.114 0.015 184.344
9 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 13 29.309 0.130 0.016 184.244
10 24 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 21 29.314 0.135 0.005 184.212

CLICK HERE for complete practice results

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Kansas
Location Kansas Speedway
Drivers Martin Truex Jr.
Teams Furniture Row Racing
Author Lee Spencer
Article type Practice report