The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series had two practice sessions on Friday to tame the “Tough Tough To Tame” at the Darlington Raceway. In the first practice, Kyle Larson led the way with a speed of 172.786 mph in his No. 42 Chevrolet. It shouldn’t be surprising though, as Larson love to run the high line at most race tracks and with the 1.366-mile South Carolina oval being run up top, Larson was there on top of the leaderboard after the first session.
Larson, has made three previous Cup starts at the “Lady in Black” with a best finish of third last year.
Denny Hamlin topped the speed charts in the first NASCAR XFINITY Series practice session and backed that up a few minutes later by being second quickest in the opening Cup practice. Hamlin, turned a lap of 172.644 mph in his No. 11 Toyota.
Hamlin and Larson were also 1-2, in that order, in the 10-lap average as well, making them the early odds on favorites.
Brad Keselowski was third fastest on the timing charts in single lap runs with a speed of 172.584 mph in his No. 2 Ford, while Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (171.896 mph) and Kevin Harvick (171.890 mph) rounded out the top five in the first practice.
Corey LaJoie was the only one to get the quote on quote “Darlington Stripe” in that first session getting into the outside SAFTER barrier early on in the opening 85-minute practice.
In final practice, Kyle Busch had his version of a spin and win. Busch, spun his No. 18 Toyota very early on in practice, luckily he never made contact with anything. He would go on to set the fastest lap in the session too with a speed of 173.320 mph. Harvick would come in at second on the final practice speed chart with a speed of 173.070 mph, while Jamie McMurray (172.990 mph) Martin Truex Jr. (172.729 mph) and Hamlin (172.632 mph) rounded out the top five.
Trevor Bayne and Larson also got Darlington Stripes this session too.
The only action on Saturday for the Cup drivers is just qualifying to set the field for Sunday’s Southern 500 (6 p.m. ET/NBCSN/MRN) at 2 p.m. ET live on NBCSN.