A 203.591 mph lap put Ryan Blaney on top of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series leaderboard in Friday’s opening practice at Michigan International Speedway. Blaney made 14 laps on track in his No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford during the opening session.
Kyle Busch was second-fastest in his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (202.327 mph), but found trouble in addition to speed. While running qualifying trim, Busch made contact with the wall with less than 10 minutes left in practice, sustaining significant damage. The team is assessing the damage to determine whether or not it will go to a backup car.
Busch’s JGR teammate Denny Hamlin came up third in the field, his No. 11 Toyota averaging a top speed of 201.935 mph. Camping World Truck Series points leader Christopher Bell is on standby for Hamlin this weekend, as Hamlin’s girlfriend Jordan Fish was due to have her baby this past Thursday.
Points leader Martin Truex Jr. was fourth-fastest in his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota (201.856 mph), while Brad Keselowski’s No. 2 Team Penske Ford rounded out the top five with a fast lap of 201.805 mph.
Reigning race-winner Kyle Larson, who has won the last two straight races at the Irish Hills track, was seventh-fastest in his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is back on track at 5:05 p.m. ET for Coors Light Pole Qualifying (NBCSN, NBC Sports App).