Race Weekend Central

Erik Jones Leads Morning Practice at Richmond

The fast speeds in the second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series were laid down at the beginning of the practice session. Erik Jones led the way at 120.714 mph, more than one-tenth of a second quicker than the second quickest time.

In Friday’s opening practice of the season Jones was second on the chart, behind Furniture Row Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr., before backing the car into the fence. During qualifying, the No. 77 car set the 20th fastest time, marking his worst starting position on the three short tracks thus far in 2017.

Kevin Harvick laid down the second quickest time in Saturday’s morning practice (120.048 mph), while Paul Menard was third (120.005 mph), Chris Buescher fourth (119.973) and Truex rounded out the top five (119.941 mph).

Austin Dillon will be starting shotgun on the gird in Sunday’s 400-lap race, but the No. 3 car put down the sixth quickest time in the session. Three-time Richmond winner Denny Hamlin was seventh, with Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt Jr. made up the reminder of the the top 10.

There were no incidents in the 60-minute session, but Kurt Busch had an issue with his spark plug wires early into the session. The Daytona 500 winner believed that he was down a cylinder, but once Tony Gibson changed the spark plug wires, the No. 41 car ran much better, though only putting down the 31st fastest time.

Kasey Kahne and Brad Keselowski joined Busch in running a lap that was 30th or worse.

37 of the 38 cars turned at least one lap in practice with only Reed Sorenson not making a run.

Landon Cassill ran 66 laps, the most of all competitors. Jones was also quickest on the best consecutive 10 lap average at 118.876 mph.


About the author

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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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