Race Weekend Central

Sophomore Star: Kyle Larson Tops Final 2015 Quaker State 400 Practice at Kentucky

In Friday’s first practice session, Kyle Larson set the quickest time on the session in qualifying trim. In the second session, Larson managed the same feat in race trim.

Larson put down a 178.412-mph lap to top Friday’s 90-minute final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice before Saturday’s Quaker State 400. Larson, who will start on the pole in tomorrow’s race, put down the fastest lap in both Friday practice sessions with the new low-downforce rules package.

Brad Keselowski ended the final session in second, with an a speed of 178.124 mph. Keselowski, the only two-time winner at Kentucky speedway, will roll off second in tomorrow night’s race.

Joey Logano (178.042), Denny Hamlin (177.626) and Kurt Busch (177.357) finished out the top five. Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top 10.

Johnson and Kenseth were responsible for the session’s two biggest incidents. Johnson was on a practice run early in the session when he claimed to have hit a weeper and washed up the track. His No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet came into contact with the outside wall on the exit of turn 4, forcing him to the garage area to repair cosmetic damage.

Kenseth was making his last run in the closing minutes of the session when he lost control of his No. 20 Dollar General Toyota coming off turn 4. Kenseth spun, sliding to a stop in the rain-soaked infield grass and getting stuck to force the session’s only caution.

While there were no more incidents, there were close calls on pit road. Kentucky’s garage area allowed only one path to enter or exit the racing surface. The tight path led to an incident between Cole Whitt, Sam Hornish Jr. and Danica Patrick in the first practice session. NASCAR avoided a similar incident in the final session by placing officials on either side of the tunnel to direct traffic.

The Cup Series won’t see any more track time to test the new rules package. Coverage for Saturday’s Quaker State 400 will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.


About the author

A graduate of Ball State, Aaron rejoins Frontstretch for his second season in 2016 following a successful year that included covering seven races and starting the popular "Two-Headed Monster" column in 2015. Now in his third year of covering motorsports, Aaron serves as an Assistant Editor for Frontstretch while also contributing to other popular sites including Speed51 and The Apex. He encourages you to come say hi when you see him at the track.

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