Race Weekend Central

Erik Jones Paces Monster Energy Open Practice

Furniture Row Racing certainly knows how to bring fast cars to Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was rookie Erik Jones who took full advantage Friday in the lone practice session before Saturday’s Monster Energy Open.

The freshman headlined testing in the last chance race for drivers to transfer into the headlining All-Star Race later Saturday night. Jones ran a fast lap of 189.056 mph to beat Clint Bowyer for the top spot. Only two All-Star drivers, Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick, turned faster laps than Jones in their practice session.

Completing the top five in the session were Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney and AJ Allmendinger. Saturday night will be the first race in which the ‘Dinger has a new crew chief, Ernie Cope, atop the pit box.

ALBINO: Crew Chief Change At JTG Daugherty

Regan Smith, filling in for the injured Aric Almirola, was sixth on the scoreboard.

Unlike qualified All-Star entrants, the Open teams do not have a tire option for their race, though they were allowed one set for practice in case they do transfer into the main event.

Qualifying for the Monster Energy Open will be Saturday at 5:00 p.m. ET while the race is scheduled for 6:20 Saturday night.  The winners of the first two stages and the overall winner will transfer into the All-Star Race along with the winner of the All-Star Fan Vote, who will be announced after the Open.

About the author

Amy is an 20-year veteran NASCAR writer and a six-time National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) writing award winner, including first place awards for both columns and race coverage. As well as serving as Photo Editor, Amy writes The Big 6 (Mondays) after every NASCAR Cup Series race. She can also be found working on her bi-weekly columns Holding A Pretty Wheel (Tuesdays) and Only Yesterday (Wednesdays). A New Hampshire native whose heart is in North Carolina, Amy’s work credits have extended everywhere from driver Kenny Wallace’s website to Athlon Sports. She can also be heard weekly as a panelist on the Hard Left Turn podcast that can be found on AccessWDUN.com's Around the Track page.

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