Friday at Darlington Raceway was Fast Friday. Both the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series as well as the NASCAR XFINTY Series drivers took to the “Lady in Black” for two practice sessions this afternoon. Both were the only two times the drivers will be on the 1.366-mile South Carolina track other than qualifying and racing.
As far as XFINITY Series action goes, Denny Hamlin led the way in the first session with a speed of 170.608 mph in his No. 18 Toyota. Hamlin, is a four-time XFINITY Series winner at Darlington including winning this very race just two years ago. He was the lone Toyota representative in the top nine speeds with Erik Jones being next best on the speed chart in 10th. In fact, they were the only two Toyota’s to even crack the top 15 in the opening practice.
Tyler Reddick was a pleasant surprise as he was second quick in his No. 42 Chevrolet. Reddick, turned a lap of 170.306 mph in his Chip Ganassi Racing entry.
JR Motorsports rounded out the top five with Justin Allgaier (170.083 mph), Elliott Sadler (169.485 mph) and rookie William Byron (169.479 mph) being third through fifth respectively.
Another rookie in Cole Custer (168.885 mph) was sixth while a second year driver and second Ganassi driver in Brennan Poole (168.781 mph) was seventh.
Last weeks winner Jeremy Clements was 12th in the first practice.
Brendan Gaughan got the first “Darlington Stripe” when he got into the SAFER barrier early on in the session.
In final practice, Hamlin was once again quick again, this time with a speed of 167.248 mph. Jones, improved from 10th to second to give Toyota a 1-2 in final practice. He turned a lap of 166.602 mph.
Custer (166.253 mph) Reddick (166.085 mph) and Brandon Jones (165.883 mph) rounded out the top five.
Like session one, Chevrolet was quick in final practice too. They had six cars in the top 10.
Drivers To Watch:
Hamlin- 1st, 1st
Reddick- 2nd, 4th
Poole- 7th, 14th,
Jones- 10th, 2nd
Custer- 6th, 3rd
Sadler- 4th, 6th
Byron- 5th, 9th
Ty Dillon- 11th,12th
Austin Dillon- 16th, 10th
The series will qualify on Saturday afternoon at 12:15 p.m. ET before running the Sports Clips Haircuts VFW 200 (3:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN/MRN) later on in the day.