KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Coors Light polesitter Matt Kenseth continued his roll of speed at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, topping NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice at the 1.5-mile oval in America’s Heartland.
Kenseth put up a lap of 28.976 seconds (186.361 mph) behind the wheel of his No. 20 DeWalt FlexVolt Toyota, leading right from the start of the 50-minute session as he looks to avenge his bitter loss in the Kansas Chase race from a year ago.
Last year, Kenseth was leading in the closing laps at Kansas and would have punched his ticket into the Round of 8, before contact from Joey Logano sent him spinning in turn one and caused his Chase hopes to evaporate.
This time however, Kenseth led Kyle Larson (29.057/185.842) on the speed charts, with Larson looking for his second win of the season after being eliminated from Chase contention during the opening round of the playoffs.
Championship-eligible drivers followed in the next five positions, with Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch completing the ‘Fast Five’ ahead of Austin Dillon and Martin Truex Jr.
However, though Busch was third-quick, his practice came to a rough end after a flat tire sent him careening through the frontstretch grass and caused significant damage to the front nose of his No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet.
The incident occurred as the clock hit zero on the session, ending it under the combined caution and red flags.
It was announced through NBC Sports about 20 minutes after the conclusion of practice that Busch would go to a backup car for Sunday’s second race of the second round of the Chase.
Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowski and Jamie McMurray made up the balance of the top 10 on the speed charts.
The slowest of the 12 remaining Chase drivers was Charlotte victor Jimmie Johnson, who was only 23rd-fastest but already has a guaranteed berth in the Round of 8 thanks to his win a week ago.
Kurt Busch made the most laps of any driver in the session, completing 58 tours of the 1.5-mile oval.
39 of the 40 drivers in Sunday’s field turned at least one lap during the session, with Reed Sorenson being the only driver to sit out final practice.
The Hollywood Casino 400 takes the green flag Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, with live coverage on NBC, the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.