The NASCAR XFINITY Series took to the Darlington Raceway for two practice sessions on Friday afternoon. These were in preparation for Saturday’s Sports Clips 200 (3:30 p.m. ET/NBC/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The retro weekend isn’t limited to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series as the XFINITY Series drivers showed off their throwback colors on the South Carolina race track on Friday.
In the first session Christopher Bell topped the speed charts with a speed of 169.356 mph in his No. 20 Toyota. Bell, has been stout all year long and if you take out of the road courses last month, he has six top three finishes in his last seven oval starts.
Ross Chastain impressed in his first opportunity with a big team as he had his No. 42 Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing second in the initial practice. Chastain, circled with track with a speed of 169.321 mph.
Cole Custer (169.025 mph), Elliott Sadler (168.984 mph) and Ty Dillon (168.798 mph) rounded out the top five.
In final practice, Sadler jumped to the top of the speed charts with a speed of 165.995 mph in his No. 1 Chevrolet. Sadler, is retiring at seasons end and hasn’t won a race since Sept. 2016. He won this race in 2016 too, so maybe this is a chance he can end his long winless drought.
His JR Motorsports teammate of Tyler Reddick was second quick in his No. 9 Chevrolet turning in a lap of 165.526 mph. Bell, was third in this session with a speed of 165.092 mph). Brad Keselowski (164.981 mph) was fourth overall while Custer (164.984 mph) rounded out the top five.
Denny Hamlin has to still be the favorite as he’s won this race five times in his career, including last year, but he was only sixth and 14th respectively in his No. 18 Toyota.
The series will qualify tomorrow afternoon before racing after.