NSCS: Carl Edwards Bolts to Practice Lead in Opening Cup Session at Michigan

Jacob Seelman Midwest, NASCAR 0 Comments

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Report by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Jerry Markland/Getty Images North America photo —

It’s a good time to be a part of Joe Gibbs Racing.

After wins in five of the last seven races (Kyle Busch – 4; Matt Kenseth – 1), and eight victories overall during the 2015 season, JGR has established themselves as the team to beat in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series during the summer months.

That trend continued during Friday’s opening Sprint Cup practice session at Michigan International Speedway, after Carl Edwards rocketed to the top of the scoring pylon during his mock qualifying run and stayed there — ending the two-and-a-half hour grind atop the 44-car field at NASCAR’s fastest track.

Edwards’ lap of 36.726 seconds (196.046 mph) held up as the fastest lap of the afternoon, but was well off of the track record of 206.558 mph, set by four-time series champion Jeff Gordon last August.

Defending series champion Kevin Harvick was not far off of Edwards’ clip, however, turning a time of 36.950 seconds (194.858 mph) to slot in second overall at the wheel of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet.

Another Chevrolet, the No. 3 DOW entry of Austin Dillon (36.984/194.679) clocked in third-quick, with three-time Cup champion Tony Stewart (36.997/194.610) continuing his recent upswing in speed with a fourth-place showing on the speed charts.

Those four drivers were the only ones to clock in underneath the 37-second barrier.

Former Michigan winner Denny Hamlin (37.088/194.133) rounded out the fast five, joining his teammate Edwards as the only other Toyota among the front group of drivers in practice.

JGR did place all four of their cars in the top 10 — with Kyle Busch (seventh) and Matt Kenseth (10th) both in the mix as potential contenders come Sunday afternoon.

Joey Logano (37.248/193.299) was the fastest Ford pilot in 11th, while Gordon slotted in the 15th position on the speed charts ahead of his final Michigan start this weekend.

Two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton subbed for Richard Petty Motorsports’ Aric Almirola for most of the practice session, with Almirola taking limited laps so as to be eligible to qualify his car later on Friday. The Valparaiso, Fla. native has been fighting what his team hopes is a 24-hour bug, leading to his absence during Friday’s session. The No. 43 Ford ended up 29th on the speed charts.

Qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 takes place at 5 p.m. Eastern Friday evening, with live coverage on NBC Sports Network.

 

RESULTS: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice; Michigan International Speedway; August 14, 2015

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

 

About the Writer

Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network. Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s. He is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for both the United Sprint Car Series and the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.

Email Jacob at: speed77radio@gmail.com

Follow on Twitter: @Speed77Radio or @JacobSeelman77

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