|Kyle Larson likes his new Camaro a lot.|
The budding NASCAR star turned the quickest lap of the day and of the two-day NASCAR test at the 1.5-mile speedway in Thursday's afternoon session, crossing the line in 28.234 seconds at 191.259 miles per hour. Veteran #31-Ryan Newman was second-fastest at 28.417/190.027, with reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year #20-Erik Jones in third at 28.420/190.007.
Larson was pleased with the two-day test session, which was free and open to the public.
"I feel good about it, and it's been good to get back in a stock car after a couple months," Larson said. "It felt like we had good speed, especially on that last long run we made. I feel like it was a good test, and it's nice to know we still have a lot of speed in our cars with all the changes to the new Camaro."
More than a dozen NASCAR drivers - including Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champions #2-Brad Keselowski and #41-Kurt Busch - spent two days knocking off the offseason rust and helping their teams collect crucial data at the track. The session was a chance for drivers and their teams to prepare for the 2018 NASCAR season, which begins with the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18 and makes its first of two LVMS stops on March 4 for the Pennzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube.
Larson, Newman and the other Chevrolet drivers were particularly in need of information, considering the manufacturers' switch to the Camaro ZL1 for the upcoming season.
"I feel like we got a good start with the new Camaro ZL1," Newman said. "We'll go through our notes and see how good we can do on our homework. The guys definitely want loads of data with the new car, and we definitely collected that."
One of this year's Rookie of the Year favorites, #24-William Byron, enjoyed his first career NASCAR test session. He was the fastest from Thursday's morning session and fifth-quickest overall at 28.529/189.281.
"It's been awesome and has been a dream come true to get in one of these cars and have Hendrick Motorsports behind me," Byron said. "It's been a blast. I'm looking forward to racing this year. It's going to be a lot of fun, and I can't wait to get back here (to Las Vegas) in the spring."
Day 2 morning speeds
Day 2 afternoon speeds
Byron and Larson fastest during first day of testing at Las Vegas
William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports and Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing led the morning and afternoon sessions, respectively, during open testing Wednesday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Byron's top speed of 188.298 mph was good enough to beat out Ryan Newman, who was second at 188.186 mph for Richard Childress Racing. Stewart-Haas Racing's Kurt Busch, Larson and Joe Gibbs Racing's Erik Jones rounded out the top five during the morning session. Full results are at the bottom of this story.
In the afternoon session, Larson led with a top speed of 188.403 mph, which held up as the top speed of the day. Newman again finished second (187.162 mph) with Byron, Kurt Busch and Jones rounding out the top five. Sixteen drivers tested Wednesday on the 1.5-mile track, site of the third Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the 2018 season and the NASCAR Playoff opener in September.