Charlotte Motor Speedway, October 6, 2017, 3:00 pm
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers took to the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway for their first practice session of the race weekend. Clear skies and the hot sun beating down made for slick conditions during the hour and a half session. Dale Earnhardt Jr. crashed coming out of turn four shortly after the track opened for hot laps. Forcing the driver of the 88 machine into his backup car.
Kyle Busch(18), winner of the last two cup events also tapped the wall in turn four. The most spectacular incident of the session belonged to Brad Keselowski(2). Exiting turn four Keselowski had his Ford Fusion sideways, smoke billowing from under the car as he tried to save it. Just slapping the outside safer barrier as he fought to regain control.
Back in the garage, Brad examined the damage as the team checked the race car over. Fortunately, no fame or suspension damage. So, for now, the backup car stays in the hauler.
Kyle Larson(42) posted the fastest speed of the afternoon at 192.082 mph. Ryan Newman(31), Kevin Harvick(4), Denny Hamlin(11), and Chase Elliott(24) all topped 191 mph. Playoff leader Martin Truex Jr.(78) was seventh fastest at 190.772 mph. Kyle Busch ran 190.007 mph, only good enough for 17th position on the speed chart.
In addition to Harvick, four other Fords placed in the top 20 spots. Ryan Blaney(21) 6th, Kurt Busch(41) 10th, Clint Bowyer(14) 12th, and Keselowski 20th. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.(17) was the slowest of the Playoff Contenders posting the 29th fastest speed at 186.528 mph.
Qualifying is tonight under the lights. When track temperatures are sure to be significantly cooler. If tire grip improves, speeds should climb.
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