Hamlin, Truex Lead Saturday’s Cup Series Practice Sessions In New Hampshire

It’s not surprising that a Toyota driver led each of the two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice sessions on Saturday at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. They’ve won six of the last seven races of the season including four straight. At New Hampshire in general, they’ve won five of the last six races on the Magic Mile and have led 97.1-percent of the overall laps since the beginning of 2016.

So, for their drivers to lead all three practice sessions this weekend and have all five starting in the top nine for Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 (1 p.m. ET/NBCSN/PRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) it’s not shocking whatsoever. 

Denny Hamlin during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 21, 2018 in Loudon, New Hampshire.

Morning Practice

On Saturday morning, Denny Hamlin topped the speed charts in his No. 11 Toyota as he turned a speed of 132.942 mph. Hamlin, is the defending race winner of the event as well as a three-time New Hampshire winner overall. He was third quickest on Friday and will start fourth on Sunday.

Ryan Blaney was second quickest in the second practice of the weekend in his No. 12 Ford. Blaney, circled the track with a speed of 132.526 mph.

Spots three and four were Martin Truex Jr. (132.462 mph) and Kyle Busch (132.406 mph) respectively. Truex, has led 100 or more laps in each of the last four Cup races at New Hampshire while Busch won the September race last year.

Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five with a lap of 132.356 mph in his No. 4 Ford. The session went incident free as a fourth Toyota in Erik Jones was sixth overall.

Martin Truex Jr. during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 20, 2018 in Loudon, New Hampshire.

Final Practice

Toyota’s dominated this incident filled session as well. They had the same four drivers in the top six once again. This time, Truex led the way with a lap of 131.624 mph in his No. 78 Toyota. Like the other session, a Ford was second. In this practice, it was Harvick who turned a lap of 131.556 mph.

The JGR trio of Busch (131.488 mph), Hamlin (131.456 mph) and Jones (131.275 mph) were third, fourth and sixth respectively.

Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top five with a speed of 131.438 mph in his No. 48 Chevrolet.

The session saw two crashes, the first early on when Michael McDowell slammed his No. 34 Ford into the SAFER barrier. He’d have to go to a backup car as a result. On Friday, his Front Row Motorsports teammate of David Ragan also got into the Turn 3 SAFER barrier as well.

In the closing minutes, Landon Cassill also found the wall in his No. Chevrolet.

Kyle Busch during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 20, 2018 in Loudon, New Hampshire.

Conclusion

Toyota’s are the class of the field going 1-3-4-9 in session No. 1, 1-3-4-6 in session No. 2 and 1-3-4-6 in final practice.

Watch out for the Big 3 though. Truex was ninth, third and first respectively in practice and starts second. Busch, was first, fourth and third respectively and rolls off third. Harvick, was seventh, fifth and second respectively in practice but starts 14th.

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