Race Weekend Central

Kyle Larson Fastest in Opening Sprint Cup Series Practice at Atlanta

With a lap of 192.902 mph, Kyle Larson was fastest in the opening practice session on Friday in preparation for Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

The No. 42 Chevrolet ran nine laps, increasing his speed on the majority of his run while getting ready for qualifying.

The entire top 5 consisted of drivers who missed the Chase for the Sprint in Cup in 2015.

2014 Atlanta winner Kasey Kahne posted the second fastest lap in the first session at 191.807 mph. Though he was nearly two-tenths of a second behind Larson, he also picked up speed as practice went on.

AJ Allmendinger was third quick on Friday morning, followed by Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Austin Dillon rounding out the top 5.

Overall, Kurt Busch posted the sixth fastest lap at 190.326 mph. The driver of the No. 41 ran a total of 16 laps including an eight-lap run, during which the No. 41 car lost over 1.3 seconds in speed due to tire wear and the grip on the track. This is the first race of 2016 in which the new aerodynamic package is being used, putting the driving back into the drivers hands.

The defending winner of Atlanta, Jimmie Johnson, recorded the 12th fastest lap on Friday morning after spending most of the practice session on the right hand side of the scoring sheet. As practice went on the No. 48 car increased speed, getting the setup closer to the one of last season.

Hometown hero and Daytona 500 pole-sitter Chase Elliott was 16th on Friday morning. He was over half a second behind the top speed, but was right in the midst of the majority of the Hendrick Motorsports-powered cars.

Last week’s Daytona 500 winner, Denny Hamlin, finished 23rd in the opening practice session. The 2012 Atlanta winner was near the top 5 early on in the practice, but with roughly 50 minutes to go he hit the apron going into turn 1, losing control of his car, ultimately saving his Toyota off turn 2 but not before he put on a smoke show. This led to a delay as track officials checked the track for oil.

Qualifying will be held on Friday evening at 5:45 p.m. Joey Logano won the pole last season and Kevin Harvick has started on the front row in each of the last two races.

Check out the full list of practice results here.

About the author

Dustin joined the Frontstretch team at the beginning of the 2016 season. 2020 marks his sixth full-time season covering the sport that he grew up loving. His dream was to one day be a NASCAR journalist, thus why he attended Ithaca College (Class of 2018) to earn a journalism degree. Since the ripe age of four, he knew he wanted to be a storyteller.

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