CUP: Jones Fastest In Coca-Cola 600 First Practice

James Pike Cup, Featured, NASCAR Leave a Comment

The No. 77 5-Hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota Camry was the fastest car in the opening round of practice. (Jeremy Thompson photo)

CONCORD, N.C. — Erik Jones was the fastest driver in the opening round of practice for Sunday evening’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (6 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM).

Jones set a fast time of 28.021 seconds (192.713 mph) in the sunny afternoon at the mile-and-a-half oval. He was also the fastest of the four Toyotas that made the top 10, which were the most of any manufacturer. The other three Toyotas were all from the Joe Gibbs Racing stable: Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch were fourth, sixth and ninth fastest respectively. Just outside of the top 10 were two more Toyotas: defending race winner Martin Truex, Jr. and Daniel Suarez were 11th and 13th to round out the rosters for Furniture Row Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing.

Jimmie Johnson set the second-fastest time with minutes to go in the session and was the quickest Chevrolet with a time of 28.056 seconds (192.472 mph). The other two bowtie drivers in the top ten were the drivers of the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates stable: Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray.

Though Larson set the third-fastest time in all of practice (28.057 seconds, 192.465 mph), he also managed to clip the Turn 2 wall with his No. 42 Target Chevrolet late in the session. The right side of the car took a fair amount of damage and Larson said on television afterward that it remains to be seen whether or not he will go a backup car for Sunday’s race. Larson was not the only driver to make contact with the wall in the first practice, however, as Clint Bowyer scraped his No. 14 Haas Automation Ford against the wall at roughly the same point on track.

Kevin Harvick was the fastest Ford in the session with the fourth-fastest time of 28.103 seconds (192.150 mph) and was joined in the top 10 by Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski and Wood Brothers Racing’s Ryan Blaney. Notable drivers outside the top 20 included Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Joey Logano. They were 22nd and 30th fastest, respectively.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to the track later today with qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 (7 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM).

Full practice results can be viewed on the next page…

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