Race Weekend Central

Kyle Busch Just Barely Fastest in Opening XFINITY Phoenix Practice

This weekend, Kyle Busch is back in the XFINITY Series for his final start of the season.  Since he was in the Chase for the Sprint Cup last season, he is barred from racing in next weekend’s Ford EcoBoost 300.  So far, he’s looking good to cap off his support season with a good run.

The defending Sprint Cup Series Champion was fastest in opening XFINITY Series Practice with a lap of 27.010 seconds (133.284 mph).  That lap was just five-thousandths of a second faster than teammate Daniel Suarez, who was the fastest Chase contender in the session.  Sprint Cup regular Brad Keselowski was third fastest, while Chasers Erik Jones and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top 5.

Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon was sixth fastest in the No. 2 Chevrolet.  Alex Bowman was seventh for JR Motorsports.  Darrell Wallace, Jr. was the fourth fastest Chaser in eighth.  He’s looking at having to win to advance to the Championship 4.  Ty Dillon was ninth quickest, while Brennan Poole was tenth.

Among the rest of the Chasers, Elliott Sadler was 11th quickest, more than a quarter of a second off of Busch and Suarez.  Ryan Reed was 13th quickest, while Blake Koch was 15th in the LeafFilter Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing.  Brendan Gaughan, who entered Phoenix 23 points behind Koch for the last spot in the Chase after measuring too low in post-race technical inspection last Saturday in Texas, was the slowest of the Chasers in 18th.

XFINITY Series teams have one more practice session scheduled for 4:30 p.m. EST.  It will be broadcast live on NBCSN.

About the author

Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.

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