FORT WORTH, TX – With how quick the Ford group has been this season, it should come to no surprise whatsoever that they were the leaders out of the clubhouse on Friday at the Texas Motor Speedway. In the lone practice session of the day on Friday, Ford, led by Stewart-Haas Racing, were 1-2-3 in the session.
Kurt Busch topped the speed charts with a lap around the 1.5-mile oval at 196.200 mph in his No. 41 Ford. Busch, sat on the pole last year and broke the track record in the process. He hasn’t scored a top five at Texas since 2010, but he’s off to a good start in changing that.
His teammate Kevin Harvick was right behind in his No. 4 Ford. Harvick, went 195.943 mph on Friday. He’s looking for his second straight Texas victory and eighth consecutive top 10 finishes on the track. Five of those eight finishes have come in the top four. Also, he’s qualified in the top five now in seven of his last nine starts.
The last race winner at Martinsville in Clint Bowyer was third in his No. 14 Ford as the Kansas native turned a speed of 195.426 mph. The fourth SHR driver Aric Almirola was ninth (194.503 mph) in his No. 10 Ford to give SHR all four cars inside of the top 10 in the lone practice session of the day on Friday.
Two Team Penske drivers in Ryan Blaney (194.883 mph) and Brad Keselowski (194.574 mph) were also found in the top 10, as they were fifth and eighth respectively.
That gave Ford four of the top five speeds in the initial session and six of the top nine.
The fastest non Ford was Kyle Busch in fourth. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver circled the track with an average speed of 195.009 mph in his No. 18 Toyota. His teammate Denny Hamlin was sixth in his No. 11 Toyota with a speed of 194.868 mph. Another Toyota in Martin Truex Jr. was 10th (194.384 mph) to give Toyota’s three cars in the top 10 themselves on Friday.
That left Chevy with just one – Chase Elliott. He was seventh overall (194.721 mph) and has never finished outside the top 10 at Texas. His teammate William Byron was only 33rd as they elected to change his engine as a result.
Then, in the rain shortened qualifying session, the same three Ford drivers were 1-2-3. Blaney made it a clean sweep of the first two rows as he will start fourth.