Hendrick teammates Byron and Elliott lead first Cup practice

Jim Utter

William, who picked up some right-side damage early in the session, rebounded to post the fastest average lap speed at 134.594 mph late in the 50-minute session.

“You got to know where the wall’s at, you know. I nicked it a little bit,” Byron said. “The car is pretty good. We need a little more speed but I thought we were pretty good.”

Elliott ended up second (133.848 mph) and Brad Keselowski third (133.308 mph). Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-five.

In addition to Byron, Corey LaJoie also got into the wall during one of his practice runs.

Rounding out the top-10 speeds were Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney.

“I always feel a little better going into Phoenix just because I have so many good memories there and good runs,” said Jones, who has two Truck Series wins at the track. “We’ve come close to winning in Xfinity and Cup and have been in contention.

“At all the places you’ve won, you have a little bit extra in your notebook of what it actually takes to win a race.”

Cla # Driver   Manufacturer Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 24 United States William Byron   Chevrolet 28 26.747     134.595
2 9 United States Chase Elliott   Chevrolet 33 26.896 0.149 0.149 133.849
3 2 United States Brad Keselowski   Ford 28 27.005 0.258 0.109 133.309
4 14 United States Clint Bowyer   Ford 18 27.020 0.273 0.015 133.235
5 1 United States Kurt Busch   Chevrolet 31 27.023 0.276 0.003 133.220
6 18 United States Kyle Busch   Toyota 26 27.036 0.289 0.013 133.156
7 22 United States Joey Logano   Ford 34 27.055 0.308 0.019 133.062
8 4 United States Kevin Harvick   Ford 31 27.076 0.329 0.021 132.959
9 20 United States Erik Jones   Toyota 24 27.115 0.368 0.039 132.768
10 12 United States Ryan Blaney   Ford 27 27.141 0.394 0.026 132.641
11 41 United States Cole Custer   Ford 20 27.164 0.417 0.023 132.528
12 88 United States Alex Bowman   Chevrolet 24 27.166 0.419 0.002 132.519
13 8 United States Tyler Reddick   Chevrolet 36 27.175 0.428 0.009 132.475
14 6 United States Ross Chastain   Ford 23 27.181 0.434 0.006 132.445
15 42 United States Kyle Larson   Chevrolet 32 27.194 0.447 0.013 132.382
16 10 United States Aric Almirola   Ford 28 27.196 0.449 0.002 132.372
17 48 United States Jimmie Johnson   Chevrolet 26 27.215 0.468 0.019 132.280
18 11 United States Denny Hamlin   Toyota 21 27.220 0.473 0.005 132.256
19 37 United States Ryan Preece   Chevrolet 20 27.239 0.492 0.019 132.163
20 21 United States Matt DiBenedetto   Ford 26 27.247 0.500 0.008 132.125
21 95 United States Christopher Bell   Toyota 24 27.255 0.508 0.008 132.086
22 47 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.   Chevrolet 32 27.292 0.545 0.037 131.907
23 3 United States Austin Dillon   Chevrolet 24 27.298 0.551 0.006 131.878
24 19 United States Martin Truex Jr.   Toyota 26 27.308 0.561 0.010 131.830
25 34 United States Michael McDowell   Ford 29 27.336 0.589 0.028 131.694
26 38 United States John Hunter Nemechek   Ford 25 27.343 0.596 0.007 131.661
27 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.   Chevrolet 31 27.389 0.642 0.046 131.440
28 13 United States Ty Dillon   Chevrolet 31 27.392 0.645 0.003 131.425
29 32 United States Corey Lajoie   Ford 7 27.477 0.730 0.085 131.019
30 17 United States Chris Buescher   Ford 15 27.538 0.791 0.061 130.728
31 96 Mexico Daniel Suarez   Toyota 18 27.731 0.984 0.193 129.819
32 52 United States J.J. Yeley   Ford 11 27.750 1.003 0.019 129.730
33 15 United States Brennan Poole   Chevrolet 20 27.880 1.133 0.130 129.125
34 00 United States Quin Houff   Chevrolet 13 28.317 1.570 0.437 127.132
35 51 United States Garrett Smithley   Chevrolet 9 28.522 1.775 0.205 126.218
36 53 United States Joey Gase   Chevrolet 14 28.529 1.782 0.007 126.187
37 77 United States Reed Sorenson   Chevrolet 1 30.968 4.221 2.439 116.249