Saturday, Oct 16
After seeing two of his teammates get involved in an incident early on in practice, Kevin Harvick posted a lap at 165.145 mph to lead opening practice.  With rain in the forecast the No. 4 car would sit on pole if qualifying were to get postponed.

The last time the Cup Series raced at Dover it was Harvick that dominated the race leading a career-high 355 laps, racing his way into the next round of the Chase. If this were qualifying, the No. 4 machine would have set a new track record.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ran the second quickest lap at 164.707 mph. With just six laps run on the racetrack, the No. 88 car was focused primarily on qualifying runs with rain on the horizon.

A pair of Joe Gibbs Racing teammates slotted themselves in third and fourth. Kyle Busch ran at 164.489 mph and Carl Edwards at 164.144 mph. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. rounded out the top five at 163.815 mph.

Outside of the first five minutes with a wreck involving the Stewart-Haas Racing teammates of Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart, along with Jamie McMurray the practice went green. All three of those drivers got back out on track in their backup cars, with the No 1 quickest at 24th.

Chase Elliott was the fastest rookie driver in 13th, just under three tenths of a second behind the lap that Harvick put down. His teammate, and 10-time Dover winner, Jimmie Johnson, was 21at on the chart.

If the rain stats away from the racetrack, ualifying is slated fto begin at 3:45 p.m.

In the same car that he raced, and crashed in the Daytona 500, Chase Elliott posted a lap of 192.661 mph and will lead the field to the green flag on Sunday at Talladega.

This is Elliott’s second career pole in the Cup Series, the other one coming in the season-opening race in Daytona. It also marks the first time that the No. 24 car will start from the lead spot at Talladega other than Jeff Gordon, and going back to last season the team has sat on five restrictor-plate poles in the last six plate events.

“This is a team effort,” Elliott said post-qualifying. “Like I said in Daytona this has nothing to do with me, it’s the car that we had. It’s the same car that we had in Daytona and brought another fast one here.”

30 years ago to the day Elliott’s father, Bill Elliott won the pole at Talladega, one of his better tracks, including the one where he laid down the fastest lap in NASCAR at over 212.000 mph.

After having the quickest first round lap, Austin Dillon came up just short and will start alongside Elliott on the front row at 192.424 mph.

“We sat around for a while, Chase was later he may have had some more heat in the car,” Dillon said on why he slowed down from round one. “I’m just proud of these guys. We barely got into the top 12 at Daytona and last year we were 24th.”

Six-time Talladega winner, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. recorded the third fastest time at 192.293 mph. Much like his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott, the No. 88 team had to repair Amelia, his favorite racecar on a plate track after crashing in Daytona.

Matt Kenseth posted the fourth fastest lap at 192.181 mph after sitting on the front row of the first plate race this season. Jimmie Johnson was fifth at 192.116 mph, marking the third Hendrick Motorsports car in the top-five starting positions.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. just missed out on the top five and will begin from sixth, his best career starting position at Talladega. Daytona 500 winner, Denny Hamlin was eighth quick and the guy he edged out for that victory, Martin Truex, Jr. was 12th on the speed chart

Ty Dillon qualified Tony Stewart’s racecar 14th for Sunday’s 500-mile event. The three-time Cup champion will begin the race and compete until the first caution, where the XFINITY Series regular will take over.

Two of the other Stewart-Haas Racing cars had disappointing qualifying runs, with 2014 Cup champion Kevin Harvick in 29th and Danica Patrick 37th. The No. 10 machine was fourth in each of Friday’s practice sessions.

Fall winner at Talladega, Joey Logano will begin from 22nd. He was quickest in final practice with Jamie McMurray fastest in the opening practice. The No. 1 car will start 30th.

Josh Wise is the only competitor that failed to make the event.

With just under 10 minutes remaining in Sprint Cup Series opening practice at Bristol, Denny Hamlin laid down a lap at 128.666 mph, shooting him to the top of the speed chart.

At a track that is a half-mile in length, Hamlin’s time lap time was 14.913 seconds. The top four all posted laps under 15 seconds as practice dwindled to a close.  

In the last five races at Bristol, the No. 11 car has sat on the pole three times, including the night race last August, the last time NASCAR visited the world’s fastest half-mile.

After dominating last week in Texas, Martin Truex, Jr. was second fasest on the leader board at 128.399 mph, .031 seconds behind Hamlin.

Two-time Bristol winner, Brad Keselowski was third on the chart at 128.374. Jimmie Johnson posted a lap at 128.176 mph. and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top five at 127.767 mph.

With qualifying being so important at Bristol, the first 17 cars were within two-tenths of a second of the top time. Notable drivers under that mark was August winner Joey Logano in 19th and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. who has two career top five finishes at this track in 26th.

Casey Mears was the fastest of the drivers who made a 10 lap run as well as running 43 laps, the most of all drivers in the hour-and-a-half session.

Qualifying will get underway at 3:30 p.m. Friday afternoon. Matt Kenseth is the defending pole-sitter and winner of the spring race in Bristol.

Jimmie Johnson led just 25 laps en route to his sixth career victory at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday following a late race restart that moved the race to overtime.  

In a car that was sponsored by the movie Superman, Johnson needed to use super powers in overtime while restarting in third, sitting behind Kevin Harvick on the bottom line with two laps to go. He pushed the No. 4 car passed leader Denny Hamlin and hooked the white line going into Turn 1 which allowed him to get the lead down the backstretch.

This was Johnson’s 77th career victory, but without Kyle Busch getting into the wall after cutting a tire with two laps to go, he would have been stuck outside the top five.

 In the second to last stint of the race, the No. 48 car was on older tires, thus making him fall through the field after restarting as the race leader.

“I knew we had a great car and that caution fell at a bad time the run before,” Johnson said. “I just didn’t have the tires on the car to race with those guys. I got a great run off of 2 [Turn] and thought I had a shot at this thing that I didn’t expect to have. I cleared him and kind of got away.”

Harvick placed his Chevrolet second on Sunday after dominating the race, leading 142 laps. Coming off a victory at Phoenix, he had the best car on the short and long runs, something that the team worked on in practice on Saturday.

“It was the worst it had taken off on restarts,” Harvick said of the final run. “We weren’t good on restarts for four or five laps, unless we were all by ourselves. The 48 was able to hang with us and we just weren’t able to drive it in like I needed to and didn’t have the front tires turning.”

After leading on the green-white-checkered finish, Hamlin finished third. On the final pit stop the No. 11 pit crew gained four positions giving their driver the lead.

On the restart Joey Logano spun his tires, not allowing him to push Hamlin and race for the win. Hamlin led just two laps, not coming until after the scheduled 200th lap.

Logano came home in fourth, while Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. rounded out the top five. Chase Elliott came home just outside the top five in sixth as the highest finishing rookie.

AJ Allmendinger picked up his first top 10 since Pocono last August. He started shotgun on the field and raced his way into the top 10 in the first quarter of the race, where he remained there the majority of the afternoon.

Flat tires and pit road penalties were the story of the race. There were just under 10 flat tires on the afternoon the last one being Busch’s, but the biggest one coming on Lap 48. Kyle Larson cut a tire going down the backstretch, losing control of his car and pounding the inside wall. All four tires came off the ground.

“We were struggling all day,” said Larson. “We were really bad. And just on that backstretch, my left rear tire got cut and spun me to the outside wall and then spun me back into the inside wall. By the time I could hit the brakes it must have ripped the brake line and I had no brakes.”

All four Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas had to serve pit road penalties during the 400-mile event. Carl Edwards, whom rebounded to finish seventh, had one with 80 laps to go, but played strategy late in the race where he led at one point with 40 laps remaining.

Hamlin had to serve two penalties, one for speeding and one for pitting too soon on Lap 25. The other top Toyota team, Martin Truex, Jr. had to serve a penalty late in the race. He finished the race 32nd after Logano put him in the wall late in the race. The No. 78 team was out front for 21 laps.

The other big incident came on Lap 120 as Kasey Kahne hooked Danica Patrick and sent her into the wall heading into Turn 1. Like Larson, the No. 10 car got airborne and she was not pleased with the driver of the No. 5 car.

The Cup Series will return to action on April 3, beating and banging on the half-mile paperclip, Martinsville Speedway.

Practice One:

The Sprint Cup Series took part in two practice sessions on Friday afternoon. Like every other year in Speedweeks, all of the cars don’t particularly make a lap on the track. However, the car that crashed in the Can-Am Duel races on Thursday evening saw it as an opportunity to test out their new Daytona 500 car.

Opening practice was strictly for one car speed as there was no drafting. After crashing in the final lap of his Duel race on Thursday, Jimmie Johnson was quickest at a speed of 194.083 mph. Other than Brian Scott who also crashed on the last lap of his Duel, the No. 48 car was the only team to hit track in its backup car.

Scott placed the No. 44 car 12th out of the 13 cars who took part in opening practice. Denny Hamlin who led 13 laps on Thursday night and won the Sprint Unlimited last Saturday was second fast at a speed of 193.861 mph.

Daytona 500 pole-sitter Chase Elliott posted the third fastest time, followed by Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Kasey Kahne in the top five.

As well as recording the fastest overall lap, Johnson also ran 24 laps, the most out of all 13 drivers in the first practice session.

Practice Two:

During the second Cup Series practice 31 cars took time led by Hamlin. While running in a pack, he put a lap up of 199.658 mph. The top five teams in the latter practice were all part of the Toyota camp in Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing.

Thursday night Duel winner Kyle Busch was second quick, followed by Martin Truex, Jr. in his backup car. The No. 78 car ran 15 laps with his new racecar and felt good about how it felt in the draft.

“As far as I can tell it feels real similar,” Truex said of his backup car. “The only drafting we did in our primary was the other day with the Gibbs cars and our Toyota teammates, basically, the same situation as today. It’s hard to tell until you get into race conditions. Hopefully, it will react as well as it did last night in the big pack. I don’t know if it was the strongest car, but it was a good fifth to 10th-place car.”

Carl Edwards finished the practice with the fourth quickest lap. The No. 19 car was on track for 22 laps, the most of any driver in the second practice session. ‘

After crashing on Thursday night, Matt Kenseth had a hot lap of 198.566 mph in his backup car. The No. 20 team was scheduled to start on the outside of the front row in the Daytona 500 until the crash last night where he got into the back of Truex.

“It’s hard to tell with not many cars out there,” Kenseth said of how his backup car is. “We probably won’t know until the race gets going on Sunday, but the speed seemed to be reasonable.”

Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano have formed an alliance of sorts this weekend as they finished practice sixth and seventh after helping each other to second and third-place finishes on Thursday night. Both teams ran for 10 laps and never left each other’s bumpers.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished the practice session in 11th. The No. 88 car named “Amelia” has never finished worse than third in any race that it has ever been entered in at either Daytona or Talladega. With a win in Duel one on Thursday, Earnhardt is one of the favorites for Sunday.

Johnson finished the second practice session with the 12th fastest time and AJ Allmendinger was 28th in his first time out on track with a backup car.

After receiving damage in his Can-Am Duel race Kurt Busch did not participate in practice on Friday, but will take part on Saturday in the final practice.

Out of cars that ran 10 consecutive laps, Edwards had the fastest time at an average of 197.186 mph. The first four drivers in that category were also all Toyotas, as they look to be stronger than some former Speedweeks.

There is just one practice session remaining between now and the Daytona 500, which will take place at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday.

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