SPARTA, KY- The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series took to the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway in four separate practice sessions this weekend, three of which were on Friday, and after all four, one driver stands out above the rest – Carl Edwards.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver was quickest in three of the four practices this weekend in the Bluegrass state, as his No. 19 Arris Toyota is the absolute car to top car to beat under the lights on Saturday night.
Edwards, turned the fastest lap in yesterday’s lone practice session, then he backed that up with being quickest in the third session with a lap of 188.633 mph. Then, in final practice, Edwards was left standing on top again, as he turned a lap of 187.448 mph in happy hour.
To me, the Missouri native has to be the favorite as he led 75-percent of the practices this weekend.
Martin Truex Jr. was second on the speed charts in final practice in his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota, clocking in at 186.528 mph. Kyle Larson wheeled his No. 42 Target Chevrolet at 186.387 mph to earn the third spot on the leaderboard, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. piloted his No. 88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet fourth-fastest lap at 186.091 mph.
Defending race winner Kyle Busch rounded out the top five in his No. 18 M&M’s Toyota, with a lap of 185.989 mph.
Denny Hamlin , who was quickest in Friday’s opening session, had a rough start to the final session, as his No. 11 FedEx Toyota brushed the wall coming out of Turns 3 and 4. He would be able to return to the track 15 minutes later without going to a backup.
Kurt Busch’s No. 41 Chevrolet wasn’t as lucky, as the Stewart-Haas Racing driver spun and made contact with the wall toward the end of practice, bringing out the caution flag and forcing Busch to a backup — and to the rear — for Saturday’s Quaker State 400.
In the third session, the top of the speed chart mirrored final practice as Edwards was obviously quickest with Truex and Larson coming in second and third respectively as well.
Kyle Busch was fourth in this session prior to being fifth in final practice as Austin Dillon rounded out the top five.