NSCS: Fastest Again; Kurt Busch Tops Phoenix Happy Hour

Ryan O'Hara Featured, NASCAR, Southwest 0 Comments

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Report by Race Chaser Online West Correspondent Ryan O’Hara — Chris Trotman/Getty Images North America photo —

Kurt Busch is on the outside looking in, but based off every practice session Saturday, the driver of the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet looks to be strong come Sunday’s Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500.

Busch paced final practice with a speed of 140.029 mph. Four-time Phoenix winner Jimmie Johnson improved from his morning practice result from sixth to second.

On Friday, Busch said he would like to see every track with multiple races a year, run one race during the day and one at night to test a driver’s skills.

But what he wants in that regard is not on his mind this weekend, but winning? That is all the former champion is thinking of.

Eliminated from the Chase, that is really all he can do at this point. However, with seven drivers vying for three spots into the championship final four, Busch could have his hands full.

The only driver with a guaranteed berth at Homestead is four-time series champion Jeff Gordon, who won at Martinsville.

With Jimmie Johnson coming away with his fourth consecutive fall Texas win, it locked another Chaser from moving onto the championship round.

Drivers like Joey Logano, who was 13th quickest, has to win to advance.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Larson, and Kevin Harvick, who has won the last four races at Phoenix, rounded out the top-five.

Erik Jones, who is making his final start as a  replacement for suspended Matt Kenseth, was sixth-fastest at 138.905 mph.

Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards, Austin Dillon, and Kasey Kahne rounded out the top-10. The same three Chasers outside the top-10 during Saturday’s morning practice didn’t go any better than 12th in the second, which was followed by Kyle Busch (12th), Brad Keselowski (16th) and Jeff Gordon (20th).

The green flag for Sunday’s Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 drops shortly after 2:30 p.m. ET (12:30 p.m. MT), with live T.V. coverage on NBC.


RESULTS: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series; Practice; Phoenix International Raceway; Nov. 14, 2015

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


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