Race Weekend Central

Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney Lead Saturday Cup Practice Sessions at New Hampshire

The two practice sessions on Saturday, July 20 for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway were adventurous, to say the least. Leading the second and final practices for the 2019 Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 were Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney, respectively.

Second Practice

Still seeking his first win of the season, Jones hopes his speed translates to the race as the Byron, Mich. native led Saturday’s initial practice with a lap of 133.476 mph. Jones ran 40 laps in the first session, excelling just a day after the Joe Gibbs Racing driver announced he’s “close” to a contract extension with the team.

There was one incident in the first practice as William Byron and Kyle Larson both tagged the wall.

Both Larson and Byron will now go to backup cars for Sunday’s race. That ups the total to five as Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin crashed in Friday’s first practice. Then, Alex Bowman lost his driveshaft during qualifying and blew up at the start/finish line.

Brad Keselowski was second in the session. Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch and Blaney rounded out the top-five speeds.


Final Practice

Blaney led NASCAR’s Happy Hour practice session when he laid down a fast lap of 133.572 mph. He completed 37 laps, with the ninth lap being his fastest as the Team Penske Ford showed solid short-run speed. He will start tomorrow’s race from the fifth position while seeking his first win of the year.

Hamlin posted the second-fastest speed of 133.226 mph in his backup No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Rounding out the top 5 in this session were Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.

The two main incidents in final practice were courtesy of Bowman and Matt DiBenedetto.

Bowman wrecked his backup car in this session. Because he has wrecked both his primary and backup cars, Hendrick Motorsports will use the backup car for Jimmie Johnson for Bowman to drive in Sunday’s race. The Chicagoland Speedway winner will definitely have a challenge ahead of him having never driven the repurposed No. 48 car.


DiBenedetto, meanwhile dealt with two flat tires in this session. Therefore, he only completed 11 laps in final practice, slotting in 20th fastest just one day after the best qualifying effort of his Cup career (seventh).


The Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 is scheduled to take place Sunday, July 21 at 3 p.m. ET. TV coverage will be provided by NBC Sports Network.


About the author

Bryan Nolen is the Podcast Manager for Frontstretch.com. He also hosts the Frontstretch Podcast with Bryan Nolen and occasionally makes appearances on The Happy Hour Podcast. He has a Sportscasting degree from the Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting. He resides in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two rabbits.

Follow him on Twitter @TheBryanNolen

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