For the first time since the season opened in Daytona, NASCAR Cup Series drivers and teams have gotten the opportunity for extended track time, with Friday’s on-track activities consisting of two 50-minute practices.
In the series’ opening practice session, third-year driver Tyler Reddick posted the fastest time of the 36 entries for Sunday’s event, posting a lap time of 20.017 seconds (89.924mph).
Chase Briscoe – a tenured dirt racer — was second in the session, with Kyle Busch, Justin Haley, and Kurt Busch rounding out the top five. Ricky Stenhouse, Ross Chastain, Todd Gilliland, Ty Dillon, and Christopher Bell completed the top-10.
Chase Elliott – the series’ 2020 champion — had the most eventful afternoon in NASCAR Cup Series practice, spinning a total of four times between the two sessions, none of which caused any major damage to his Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet.
The series’ final practice of the afternoon was ruled by Joe Gibbs Racing, with Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch posting the two fastest times in the session, however, both times were considerably slower than the pace in the morning session.
Despite Hamlin’s 20.638-second lap leading final practice, the lap would have only ranked him 35th overall in the series’ opening practice, detailing the massive drop-off in speed that the track saw from when the on-track activity started at 3:00, to when it finished at 7:30.
Kyle Busch was ranked second in the session, only three-hundredths of a second behind his teammate’s best lap. Rookie Todd Gilliland continued a solid day for himself and Front Row Motorsports, posting the third-quickest time in final practice.
Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell completed the top five. Kyle Larson – who made contact with the outside wall halfway through happy hour — Joey Logano, Justin Haley, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-10.
The session’s fastest time (Hamlin) and slowest time (Allgaier) were only separated by 0.555 seconds, making it the tightest practice session – from first to last — in the NASCAR Cup Series since 2013 at Bristol.