NSCS: Fast Off the Truck; Rain Puts Larson First in Saturday’s Quaker State 400

Kyle Magda Featured, Midwest, NASCAR 0 Comments

SPARTA, Ky. — Report by Race Chaser Online Associate Editor Kyle Magda –Daniel Shirey/Getty Images North America photo —

Once the Sprint Cup Series cars got on track Friday morning, Kyle Larson turned laps at Kentucky Speedway before setting the quickest time of the practice at 29.583 seconds (182.537 mph)

Shortly thereafter, the rains returned and Mother Nature prevailed, forcing NASCAR to cancel Cup qualifying to get more practice time with the new rules package before the fifth-annual Quaker State 400.

Larson has yet to win in the Cup Series and has a clear view out the windshield once the green flag drops Saturday night.

“I was glad we got a little bit of track time there,” Larson said.  “We were quick off the truck, which I was really proud of my team for just because we haven’t had any laps on this new package, unlike some of the other teams that have got to do some testing.”

“We were quick in race-trim off the truck and then we went to mock qualifying-trim and were really fast. I was able to lay down a really fast lap and then go back to race-trim and felt good there too.”

Larson looks to better his 2014 finish of 40th after a flat tire put the No. 42 Target Chevrolet in the wall and ending any chance at a good finish.

One driver didn’t have the same misfortune as Larson, as in 2012 Cup champ Brad Keselowski. The Penske Racing driver led 199 of the 267 laps en route to a dominating win in last year’s Quaker State 400.

The speed stayed in he No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Friday morning as Keselowski posted the second-fastest time in practice and rolls off from the second position Saturday night.

“I felt like we had a shot at the pole in both races and didn’t get to qualify,” Keselowski said. “Little bummed about that, but happy with the speed we’ve shown so far. The Cup car is really, really good. A little more practice to get it a little bit closer. We still have a lot we can work on and still kind of getting the handle on the different tire that Goodyear has this year compared to last and the different aero package that everyone’s been speaking of all week for this specific track.”

Penske Racing led all but 31 laps in last year’s event and both team cars will start start inside the top-five for the second straight year. 2015 Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano rolls off from the fourth starting spot.

Jeff Gordon was the highest Hendrick Motorsports driver and starts third in pursuit of his first win at the Kentucky track. Gordon joins Larson and Martin Truex Jr. (fifth) as the only Chevrolet drivers to start inside the top-five.

Jimmie Johnson starts alongside Truex in sixth and dominated the 2013 race before spinning out late in the event. Behind Johnson and seventh-place Jamie McMurray is the Joe Gibbs Racing duo of Denny Hamlin and 2011 Kentucky winner Kyle Busch. Hamlin won this year’s All-Star Race,w hile Busch returned to victory lane for the first time in 34 races, two weeks ago at Sonoma.

Last week’s Daytona winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-10.

Will Kimmel makes his Sprint Cup Series debut in the No. 32 Go Green Racing Ford and starts 40th.

Ryan Blaney showed his No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford had speed in practice, but with the team not having enough owner points, Blaney misses the race for the second straight week, along with Michael McDowell. The Motorsports Group made their return this weekend to Kentucky with driver Travis Kvapil and was the third driver who did not qualify (DNQ).

NASCAR is still drying the track, as the Air Titans are feverishly trying to get the track ready for the Cup cars to take some more laps with the new aero package before Saturday night’s Quaker State 400.


STARTING GRID: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series; Quaker State 400; Kentucky Speedway; July 10, 2015

  1. Kyle Larson
  2. Brad Keselowski
  3. Jeff Gordon
  4. Joey Logano
  5. Martin Truex Jr.
  6. Jimmie Johnson
  7. Jamie McMurray
  8. Denny Hamlin
  9. Kyle Busch
  10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  11. Austin Dillon
  12. Aric Almirola
  13. Kurt Busch
  14. Paul Menard
  15. Kevin Harvick
  16. Matt Kenseth
  17. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  18. Sam Hornish Jr.
  19. Kasey Kahne
  20. Carl Edwards
  21. Casey Mears
  22. Tony Stewart
  23. Danica Patrick
  24. A.J. Allmendinger
  25. David Ragan
  26. Ryan Newman
  27. Greg Biffle
  28. Trevor Bayne
  29. Michael Annett
  30. Clint Bowyer
  31. Alex Bowman
  32. Justin Allgaier
  33. Cole Whitt
  34. David Gilliland
  35. Jeb Burton
  36. Landon Cassill
  37. Josh Wise
  38. Brett Moffitt
  39. Matt DiBenedetto
  40. Will Kimmel
  41. J.J. Yeley
  42. Reed Sorenson
  43. Alex Kennedy

DNQ: Michael McDowell, Ryan Blaney and Travis Kvapil

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