Drivers use final practice to test long-run speed

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Drivers use final practice to test long-run speed

Clint Bowyer, driver of No. 14  Haas Automation Ford for Stewart Haas Racing, talks with FOX Sports in the garage. Bowyer paced the final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice with a speed of 179.104 mph. Bowyer also led the first practice and qualified third for the race.

Clint Bowyer, driver of No. 14 Haas Automation Ford for Stewart Haas Racing, talks with FOX Sports in the garage. Bowyer paced the final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice with a speed of 179.104 mph. Bowyer also led the first practice and qualified third for the race.

Katie Linkner

Clint Bowyer, driver of No. 14 Haas Automation Ford for Stewart Haas Racing, talks with FOX Sports in the garage. Bowyer paced the final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice with a speed of 179.104 mph. Bowyer also led the first practice and qualified third for the race.

Katie Linkner

Katie Linkner

Clint Bowyer, driver of No. 14 Haas Automation Ford for Stewart Haas Racing, talks with FOX Sports in the garage. Bowyer paced the final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice with a speed of 179.104 mph. Bowyer also led the first practice and qualified third for the race.

Jenna Sanders, Sports Editor

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Clint Bowyer, driver of No. 14  Haas Automation Ford for Stewart Haas Racing, paced the final practice with a speed of 179.104 mph and 30.954 seconds. Bowyer ran 35 laps in the final practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.

Shelby Foster
Kyle Busch’s car sits in the garage after making contact with the wall in the final practice. Despite qualifying sixth, Busch will start tomorrow’s race from the back of the field due to switching to a backup car.

“It’s just the balance,” Bowyer said. “Trying to get it all figured out. Trying to figure out where you’re out. We all got out there…drafted a little bit. It presented, obviously, a different challenge. It’s going to be interesting to see.”

Trailing close behind Bowyer, Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Snickers Creamy Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, placed second with a top speed of 178.873 mph and 30.994 seconds. Coming in third was Austin Dillon, No. 3 Dow Chevrolet for Richard Childress, with a top speed of 178.771 mph and a time of 31.022 seconds. Following close behind in fourth was Michael McDowell’s No. 34 FR8 Auctions Ford for Front Row Motorsports, with a top speed of 178.762 mph and a time of 31.029 seconds. Rounding out the top five was Corey LaJoie, in the No. 32 Old Spice Ford for GO FAS Racing, with a top speed of 178.435 mph and a time of 31.070 seconds.

“We got speed,” Dillon said. “It’s just trying to have a car that holds on a little bit longer is the next thing we’re working on.”

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, ran the most laps in the final practice (68), but only managed the 29th best speed (176.292 mph). Rookie Ryan Preece, driver of the No. 47 Kroger Chevrolet for JTG Daugherty Racing, ran 62 total laps with a top speed of 176.836 mph, placing 25th on the speed chart. Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 1 ComSurv Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing, ran a total of 58 laps with a top speed of 178.018 mph.

“We did a lot in practice to make the car drive a little better,” Dillon said. “I’m happy with it. We just need to balance it out and go over everything.”

Kyle Busch had the best ten-lap average with an average speed of 177.302 mph. Kyle Larson, driver of No. 42 McDonald’s Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing, had the second best average with an average speed of 176.534 mph. Rounding out the top three for best ten-lap average with an average speed of 176.115 mph was Martin Truex Jr. in the No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.

“I feel pretty good about [the car] in the long run,” Larson said. “It’s fast.”

The second practice was not so favorable for two Joe Gibbs Racing drivers. Kyle Busch hit the wall and tore up the rear of his car. After hitting the wall, Kyle Busch’s team prepared the back up car. He will start from the rear of the field in tomorrow’s race. After Kyle Busch’s accident, Erik Jones, driver of the No. 20 DeWalt Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, lost power steering and had to head into the garage for repairs.

Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Autotrader Ford for Team Penske, also had problems with steering later during the practice.

“That was kind of like a fast and furious practice,” Dillon said. “You try and get as much done as you can in a short amount of time. We learned a lot. We just have to hit it, balance-wise, for tomorrow’s race.”

The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 race will take place tomorrow at 2 p.m. You can watch all the action on your local FOX channel.

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