Friday, March 9, 2018

Larson and McMurray fastest in first Phoenix practice session

Kyle Larson is 8/1 to win at Phoenix on Sunday.
Kyle Larson posted the fastest lap in the late stages of Friday's first practice session at Phoenix's ISM Raceway in preparation for Sunday's TicketGuardian 500. The fast lap at 138.281 mph beat out his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Jamie McMurray (137.762) making the duo the favorites to win Friday's qualifying.

The top-five during the 50 minute session was rounded out by 2005 Phoenix winner Kyle Busch (137.662), rookie William Byron (137.620) and Chase Elliott (137.615) who was runner-up in last fall's Phoenix race.

Joey Logano, who won the fall 2016 Phoenix race, was sixth fastest and the quickest Ford driver at 137.420 mph.

There were seven Chevrolet drivers in the top 15, including the four in the top five. That's a good sign for the new Camaro who collectively looked a bit sluggish the past two weeks on 1.5-mile tracks.

Rookie Darrell Wallace Jr. recorded the most laps in the session with 18. He was 25th on the speed chart and the only driver to turn 10-consecutive laps. Keep an eye on that stat for all drivers during Saturday's final two practices.

There was only one accident in the session. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who finished fourth in this race last season, made contact with the outside wall with about 32 minutes left. He will go to a backup car.

Eight-time Phoenix winner Kevin Harvick, who came in as the whopping 9-to-4 favorite to win at the sports books, finished with the 11th fastest lap.

Cup qualifying is scheduled Friday for 5:15 pm ET.


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