Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney tied atop of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series speed charts in Friday’s opening practice at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Blaney and Jones both ran leaderboard-topping laps of 129.877 mph in the 55-minute session. Blaney drove the Team Penske No. 12 Ford; Jones was in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota.
Kurt Busch, a five-time Bristol winner, logged the third-fastest lap, driving the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Ford to 129.657 mph around the .533-mile track. His brother, Kyle Busch, a six-time winner at the Tennessee venue, was fourth-fastest, and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five in preparation for Sunday’s Food City 500 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Two teams were in repair mode after wrecks in first practice. Among them was Kevin Harvick, who made significant contact with the outside wall in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Ford with nine minutes remaining in the session.
“Something obviously either came off or broke in the front suspension,” Harvick said. “It looks more like the right-front, to tell you the truth. It definitely wasn’t a tire failure or anything like that, but just going in the corner as soon as I let off the gas it just hung a right, so it’s unfortunate for our Busch Beer/Jimmy John’s Ford, but we’ll get another one out and do it again.”
AJ Allmendinger triggered the first caution period, his JTG-Daugherty No. 47 Chevrolet spinning and making slight contact with the outside retaining wall with 12 minutes left. Harvick went to a backup car, while Allmendinger and the No. 47 team will attempt to fix the primary.
“Yeah, spun out and is going to make the rest of our weekend a pretty rough weekend,” Allmendinger said.
Daniel Suarez turned in the 16th-fastest lap in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota. He is competing this weekend with a brace on his left hand after a crash last Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.
Defending race winner Jimmie Johnson made the 14th-fastest lap in Friday’s practice.
Four teams were docked 15 minutes of practice time for failing pre-race technical inspection last weekend at Texas:
- 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet of Jamie McMurray
- 21 Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford of Paul Menard
- 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet of Kyle Larson
- 55 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet of Reed Sorenson