Race Weekend Central

Tony Stewart Paces Morning Practice in Michigan

Tony Stewart was the lone driver to top 202 mph as the veteran topped an early morning practice in the Irish Hills.

Stewart’s 35.622-second circuit around Michigan International Speedway served as the quickest lap in the session by more than a tenth of a second. The one-time Michigan winner will roll off 15th in his final start on the two-mile oval in Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.

Rookies Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott followed Stewart with laps of 35.745 seconds and 35.786 seconds, respectively, with Kurt Busch (35.805) and Kyle Larson (35.833) rounding out the top five. Martin Truex, Jr., Kevin Harvick, Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne completed the top 10.

Drivers were forced to shake off fatigue for the morning session, which began at 8:30 a.m. ET. The practice was completed without issue, filled primarily with single-car runs as teams try to dial in their cars. One driver, Denny Hamlin, took the time to complete two mock-restarts on the front straightaway. Restarts proved key in June’s FireKeepers Casino 400 as track position ruled the day.

All 40 cars entered in Sunday’s race made laps in the 55-minute session, including Jeffrey Earnhardt, who missed Friday’s Coors Light Pole qualifying after a crash in opening practice relegated the rookie’s Go FAS Racing team to a backup car.

The Sprint Cup Series will return to the racing surface for final practice 11:30 a.m. ET. Coverage can be found on CNBC.

Results, via NASCAR

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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