Chase Elliott tops Kyle Busch in final Cup practice

Jim Utter

Elliott posted his session-best average lap speed of 134.213 mph early-on and an HMS driver has now led the last five Cup Series practice sessions dating back to Las Vegas two weeks ago.

Kyle Busch ended up second (134.203 mph) and Aric Almirola was third (133.655 mph). Last week’s winner, Alex Bowman, ended up fourth and Ty Dillon completed the top-five.

“Just a little tight right there,” Bowman said of his final practice run, “but not bad. Bowman’s crew chief, Greg Ives, responded, “I think we’ve got a pretty good car right there.”

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Completing the top-10 speeds were Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Joey Logano, William Byron, Erik Jones and Brad Keselowski. Byron was fastest in Friday’s first practice.

Kevin Harvick ended up with the best average lap speed (131.645 mph) among the drivers who ran 10 consecutive laps. Keselowski and Logano were second and third, respectively, in that category.

Three drivers had to serve penalties in final practice.

J.J. Yeley had to sit out the final 15 minutes for being late out of the garage to inspection. Kurt Busch missed the final 15 minutes for his car failing inspection twice last weekend. Martin Truex Jr. had to sit out the final 30 minutes for his car failing inspection three times last weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

Cla # Driver   Manufacturer Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 9 United States Chase Elliott   Chevrolet 48 26.823     134.213
2 18 United States Kyle Busch   Toyota 33 26.825 0.002 0.002 134.203
3 10 United States Aric Almirola   Ford 50 26.935 0.112 0.110 133.655
4 88 United States Alex Bowman   Chevrolet 34 26.986 0.163 0.051 133.403
5 13 United States Ty Dillon   Chevrolet 51 27.013 0.190 0.027 133.269
6 47 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.   Chevrolet 34 27.112 0.289 0.099 132.783
7 22 United States Joey Logano   Ford 59 27.135 0.312 0.023 132.670
8 24 United States William Byron   Chevrolet 48 27.140 0.317 0.005 132.646
9 20 United States Erik Jones   Toyota 50 27.146 0.323 0.006 132.616
10 2 United States Brad Keselowski   Ford 67 27.166 0.343 0.020 132.519
11 12 United States Ryan Blaney   Ford 65 27.168 0.345 0.002 132.509
12 1 United States Kurt Busch   Chevrolet 48 27.173 0.350 0.005 132.484
13 4 United States Kevin Harvick   Ford 53 27.176 0.353 0.003 132.470
14 95 United States Christopher Bell   Toyota 36 27.193 0.370 0.017 132.387
15 37 United States Ryan Preece   Chevrolet 33 27.227 0.404 0.034 132.222
16 11 United States Denny Hamlin   Toyota 46 27.241 0.418 0.014 132.154
17 41 United States Cole Custer   Ford 63 27.254 0.431 0.013 132.091
18 14 United States Clint Bowyer   Ford 39 27.269 0.446 0.015 132.018
19 48 United States Jimmie Johnson   Chevrolet 51 27.276 0.453 0.007 131.984
20 21 United States Matt DiBenedetto   Ford 51 27.276 0.453 0.000 131.984
21 42 United States Kyle Larson   Chevrolet 32 27.314 0.491 0.038 131.801
22 8 United States Tyler Reddick   Chevrolet 52 27.320 0.497 0.006 131.772
23 3 United States Austin Dillon   Chevrolet 45 27.342 0.519 0.022 131.666
24 34 United States Michael McDowell   Ford 39 27.400 0.577 0.058 131.387
25 19 United States Martin Truex Jr.   Toyota 25 27.422 0.599 0.022 131.281
26 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.   Chevrolet 26 27.423 0.600 0.001 131.277
27 6 United States Ross Chastain   Ford 34 27.462 0.639 0.039 131.090
28 38 United States John Hunter Nemechek   Ford 38 27.488 0.665 0.026 130.966
29 17 United States Chris Buescher   Ford 31 27.490 0.667 0.002 130.957
30 32 United States Corey Lajoie   Ford 14 27.551 0.728 0.061 130.667
31 52 United States J.J. Yeley   Ford 12 27.899 1.076 0.348 129.037
32 15 United States Brennan Poole   Chevrolet 31 27.947 1.124 0.048 128.815
33 96 Mexico Daniel Suarez   Toyota 47 27.950 1.127 0.003 128.801
34 00 United States Quin Houff   Chevrolet 26 28.304 1.481 0.354 127.191
35 66 United States Timmy Hill   Toyota 17 28.423 1.600 0.119 126.658
36 51 United States Garrett Smithley   Chevrolet 7 28.438 1.615 0.015 126.591
37 77 United States Reed Sorenson   Chevrolet 8 28.660 1.837 0.222 125.611
38 53 United States Joey Gase   Chevrolet 4 28.742 1.919 0.082 125.252