Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Practice and Qualifying at Bristol

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Bristol Motor Speedway, Friday, April 13th, 2018

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series makes its annual Spring stop at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. The Food City 500 is scheduled to take the green flag Sunday afternoon, the 15th, shortly after 2:00 pm. The current forecast for race day is cloudy with rain probable. Today, it’s a beautiful 80-degrees with plenty of sunshine and a comfortable breeze.

The first practice for the Cup cars prepped the drivers for today’s qualifying session scheduled for 4:45 this evening. Ryan Blaney(12) and Erik Jones(20) posted the fastest laps at 129.877. Kurt Busch(41) ran third fastest, Kyle Busch(18) fourth, and Kyle Larson filled out the top 5.

Kevin Harvick Wrecks

In the big news of the day, Kevin Harvick(4) hit the wall. It appeared that something may have broke on the car or a tire issue developed. Entering turn three the car took off towards the outside wall making hard impact. The video shows something coming out from beneath the car as it makes its way up the track.

This year’s 3-time winner will be switching to a backup car as they towed his number 4 Fusion back to his team trailer. Harvick’s fastest lap, 127.284, was only good enough for 25th on the speed chart.

Latest Update from Ford Performance

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion, was involved in a practice accident today at Bristol Motor Speedway and will be forced to a backup car for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion – ANY FURTHER DETAILS ON WHAT HAPPENED?  “Something obviously either came off or broke in the front suspension.  It looks more like the right-front, to tell you the truth.  It definitely wasn’t a tire failure or anything like that, but just going in the corner as soon as I let off the gas it just hung a right, so it’s unfortunate for our Busch Beer/Jimmy John’s Ford, but we’ll get another one out and do it again.”

Allmendinger Spins

A.J. Allmendinger also slid and tapped the wall. His crew also unloaded a backup machine. Allmendinger posted the 33rd fastest speed at 125.691.

Top to bottom the 39 cars entered were separated by less than a second. Speeds varied by only 8 mph. Other top drivers and their position on the speed chart included the following.

  • Denny Hamlin(11)  6th
  • Brad Keselowski(2)  8th
  • Martin Truex Jr.(78)  10th
  • Aric Almirola(10)  12th
  •  Joey Logano(22)  13th
  • Jimmie Johnson(48)  14th
  • Darrell Wallace Jr.(43)  21st
  • Chase Elliott(9)  26th
  • Austin Dillon(3)  28th

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying

Round 1

Qualifying for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway was supposed to start at 4:45 pm. The only thing that started on time was the 15-minute clock. Most teams opted to wait as late as possible in the hopes the track would cool from the hot afternoon sun. With the first round of eliminations, 39 cars were set to take the track. It was bound to be crowded as the time wound down. Denny Hamlin(11) was the first of the pole contenders to hit the track. He exited pit road with six minutes left on the countdown clock.

With a little over three minutes to go, pit road began to empty. Still, with two minutes left there were 16 cars that had not recorded a time. Kyle Busch posted the fastest lap at 128.960. Kurt Busch was second fastest at 128.382.

Notables eliminated in round one, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., and Kevin Harvick. Harvick did not take to the track as his crew continued to prep his backup car.

25 11 Denny Hamlin 125.773
26 78 Martin Truex Jr. 125.765
27 15 Ross Chastain 125.248
28 23 Gray Gaulding 124.938
29 0 Landon Cassill 124.922
30 31 Ryan Newman 124.735
31 1 Jamie McMurray 124.517
32 13 Ty Dillon 123.978
33 6 Trevor Bayne 123.802
34 72 Corey LaJoie 121.79
35 96 DJ Kennington 121.389
36 55 Reed Sorenson 121.366
37 51 Harrison Rhodes 118.058
38 66 Chad Finchum 114.658
39 4 Kevin Harvick 0

 

Round 2

The second session? Same as the first with driver’s waiting as late as possible. Noting that Hamlin went out early and failed to advance, Kyle Larson was first on the track with 2:30 left on the clock. As the timer clicked down, everyone else waiting began to move out at the 1:45 mark.

Again it was the Busch brothers leading the way. Only this time Kurt ran faster at 129.030 with Kyle at 128.969 in second.

Here is the list of cars eliminated in Round 2.

13 20 Erik Jones 127.317
14 14 Clint Bowyer 127.191
15 95 Kasey Kahne 127.115
16 9 Chase Elliott 127.031
17 48  Jimmie Johnson 126.972
18 47 AJ Allmendinger 126.771
19 10 Aric Almirola 126.704
20 43 Darrell Wallace Jr. 126.420
21 3 Austin Dillon 126.395
22 37 Chris Buescher 126.270
23 38 David Ragan 126.204
24 32 Matt DiBenedetto 125.535

 

Pole Qualifying

With 12 cars remaining, track space will not be a problem for those seeking the two front row spots. With passing difficult on the tight corners at Bristol, track position is important. Every driver wants to start as close to the front as possible. All 12 cars were on the track for the final minute of Round 3.

Kyle Busch edged his brother Kurt by 2/1,000 of a second to win the pole, running 128.822 miles per hour. This is the third time in their career they have shared the front row at the start of a race.

Final results for Round 3.

1

18 Kyle Busch 128.822
2 41 Kurt Busch 128.804
3 2 Brad Keselowski 128.262
4 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 128.253
5 12 Ryan Blaney 128.185
6 42 Kyle Larson 128.048
7 21 Paul Menard 127.980
8 88 Alex Bowman 127.835
9 34 Michael McDowell 127.673
10 22 Joey Logano 127.571
11 24 William Byron 127.470
12 19 Daniel Suarez 126.628

 

Practice Photo Gallery

Check Back this Weekend for More Pictures from Bristol Motor Speedway. Live NASCAR Coverage from The Lasco Press.

 

 

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Steve Sweitzer
Steve is the Sports Editor for the Lasco Press and highlights our coverage of NASCAR and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Steve is a nationally published author of automotive related articles for industry trade magazines, a freelance technical writer, and a contributing author to a consortium that provides “how to” articles for eBay Buying Guides. A 25-year resident of Southeast Michigan, Steve’s passion for reporting on our community, it’s residents, and our automotive connections allow us to use his skills to cover a number of events. Steve’s ability to seek out the unique behind the scenes accounts that tell the often-overlooked aspect of a story makes for entertaining reading. Follow Steve on the Lasco Press with weekly NASCAR updates and featured articles.