CUP: Defending Kansas Winner Kyle Busch Paces Final Practice

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Kyle Busch paced Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series final practice at Kansas Speedway on Friday. (Jeremy Thompson photo)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — With time ticking away during final practice at Kansas Speedway, speeds began to pick up.

One by one drivers ran their mock qualifying runs on Friday afternoon, and at the end of the road, defending Go Bowling 400 winner Kyle Busch was fastest of all.

Busch put up a lap of 28.729 seconds (187.963 mph) in his No. 18 M&Ms Red Nose Day Toyota. Neither Busch nor Joe Gibbs Racing have won yet this year, but that could quickly change Saturday night at Kansas.

Points leader Kyle Larson (187.833 mph) slotted in second-quick in a back-up car, after the Chip Ganassi Racing driver crashed just five minutes in the session. Las Vegas winner Martin Truex Jr. (187.305 mph) was third, backing up the fast pace he set in Friday morning’s first practice.

Ryan Blaney led the Ford camp with the fourth-fastest time (28.849 seconds), just ahead of quasi-teammate Brad Keselowski in fifth (187.13 mph).

Matt Kenseth was sixth (186.981 mph), followed by three-time Kansas winner Jimmie Johnson (186.58 mph). Johnson posted the fastest consecutive 10-lap average among 20 drivers who partook in the longer runs.

Three Chevrolets completed the top-10, all powered by Hendrick engines.

Jamie McMurray (186.561 mph), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (186.451 mph) and Kasey Kahne (186.31 mph) capped the top-10 and helped lead a decent, but not stellar, day for the Bowtie Brigade.

The lone Hendrick car outside the top 10 was Chase Elliott, who was 15th in his No. 24 NAPA Chevrolet.

Carl Long got on track and made 14 laps in the No. 66 MBM Motorsports machine. Michael McDowell didn’t turn a lap after blowing a motor in opening practice.

Coors Light Pole Qualifying gets the green at 6:45 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN), setting the field for Saturday night’s Go Bowling 400.

Full final practice results can be found on the next page…

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