Kyle Busch and Toyota continued their recent string of success in Friday’s Sprint Cup Series practices at Bristol Motor Speedway, sweeping both sessions for Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race.
Busch’s 14.796-second lap led the way in final practice, coming out just ahead of Martin Truex, Jr.’s time of 14.807 seconds.
Matt Kenseth (14.830), Ryan Blaney (14.836) and Denny Hamlin (14.845) rounded out the top 5, with Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski completing the top 10.
After a primarily drama-free opening practice, Happy Hour saw multiple stoppages due to both weather and accidents. Getting the worst of the session was Josh Wise, who got into the outside wall with a flat tire and will revert to a backup car.
Also suffering issues were Roush Fenway Racing teammates Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who each looped their cars around on the half-mile track’s straightaways. Both drivers continued on without damage.
The Cup Series will return to action at 5:45 p.m. ET, when they return to the racing surface for Coors Light Pole Qualifying.
Practice 1: After a brief delay for rain, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series roared to life for the first time in two weeks for opening practice at Bristol Motor Speedway. Unsurprisingly, it was the same organization that paced the field.
Kyle Busch laid down a 14.878-second lap to top the first practice session for Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at the half-mile Bristol, just edging out teammate Denny Hamlin’s 14.915-second circuit.
Kyle Larson (14.921), Chase Elliott (14.931) and Aric Almirola (14.932) completed the top five, with Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Austin Dillon, Martin Truex, Jr., and Carl Edwards rounding out the top 10.
The opening practice session served as the first track time for NASCAR’s premier series since the addition of a “grip strip” on Bristol’s bottom lane. In an effort to return the half-mile to its old style, where the bottom lane prevailed as the fastest way around the track, Bristol added a compound called VHT to the track’s inside lane after polishing it and prepping it with Kentucky Speedway’s new “tire monster” machine.
The result in first practice -much like in Wednesday’s Camping World Truck Series race- was that the bottom lane gave way to quicker lap times, while the outside was a tenth of a second or more slower.
Teams will continue to monitor the altered racing surface over the weekend.
The Sprint Cup Series will return to action at 12:30 p.m. ET for final practice. The session will be aired on USA Network at 1 p.m. ET.
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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