Kyle Larson turned the fastest lap in the first NASCAR Cup Series practice session at North Wilkesboro Speedway in 27 years with a lap time of 20.615 sec. (109.144 mph) in his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
Larson, who is locked into Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race, put down the early statement for the weekend with a fast lap in practice, but with the aged track surface, long-run speed will be critical at the 0.625-mile short track in North Wilkesboro, NC.
William Byron, the driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro who has the most wins so far in 2023, turned the fastest average lap speed over a 10-lap run in Friday’s practice session. Tyler Reddick led the way in 15-lap average finish and Ryan Blaney was the best of anyone that took a 20-lap run.
Brad Keselowski turned the second-fastest lap overall of the session while Denny Hamlin, Buescher, and Chase Briscoe made up the remainder of the top-five fastest in the session.
Martin Truex Jr., William Byron, Kevin Harvick, Chandler Smith, and Ryan Preece made up the remainder of the top-10 fastest in NASCAR Cup Series combined All-Star and All-Star Open practice.
Smith was the fastest among the 16 All-Star Open entries in ninth. Three drivers will advance to the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race from the 100-lap Open event on Sunday.
Daniel Suarez found trouble in the opening moments of NASCAR Cup Series practice, as he spun his No. 99 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet, and nudged the rear of the car into the outside wall. The damage didn’t seem super severe for Suarez as he was able to return to the track.
Suarez made a total of 49 laps in the session, with his best lap ranking 32nd in the running order.