Race Weekend Central

Chase Elliott Leads Opening Cup Practice at Richmond

With just over a minute to go in opening Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Richmond Raceway, Chase Elliott put some fresh rubber on the No. 9 car. That was enough to rocket him to the top of the speed chart (121.327 mph) as he attempts to put a rough 2018 start behind him.

Elliott was .046 seconds ahead of Kyle Larson, who spent much of Friday’s first practice in the top spot (121.076 mph). They’re both driving the new Chevy Camaro ZL1s which are searching for their first MENCS win since February’s Daytona 500.

The No. 42 car of Larson was slotted just ahead of Martin Truex Jr. (120.757 mph). The No. 78 team dominated the fall event, leading a race-high 198 laps before dropping to 20th after a late-race wreck.

Jamie McMurray posted the fourth quickest time (120.703 mph) in opening practice, just ahead of defending winner Joey Logano (120.660 mph). It’s been 36 races since the No. 22 team got to Victory Lane.

Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski filled out the rest of the top 10.

Daniel Hemric was 23rd in his first career MENCS practice, narrowly edged out by Richard Childress Racing teammates Ryan Newman and Austin Dillon. Those drivers were 20th and 21st, respectively in a middling performance for the three-car team.

All 38 cars took at least one lap and are guaranteed a spot on the grid.

Final practice is scheduled to get underway at 12:35 p.m. ET.


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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