Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers dominate Saturday morning practice

Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service Saturday, Sep 13 1705

Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers dominated Saturday morning’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session, filling eight of the top 10 spots.

Non-Chaser Paul Menard, however, paced the session with a fast lap at 188.772 mph, nearly one mile-an-hour faster than second-place Kasey Kahne’s 187.780 mph. Kevin Harvick was third quickest, followed by Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Brian Vickers, Aric Almirola, Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson.

Vickers was the other non-Chase driver in the top 10…

Leading Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Kyle Larson slammed into the outside wall during the first Saturday practice and will start Sunday’s 400—the first race in the Chase—from the rear of the field in a backup car.

After shaking down the backup later in the session, Larson got the car up to speed in Saturday’s second practice, running third behind Edwards and Brad Keselowski. Edwards’ top speed of 186.413 mph was a reflection of warmer track conditions.