NNS PRACTICE: Rookie Stripes No Problem; Chris Buescher Leads the Pack in Nationwide Happy Hour at Dover

Kyle Magda NASCAR, Northeast 0 Comments

DOVER, Del. — Report by Associate Editor Kyle Magda for Race Chaser Online — Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America photo — For a track that’s unforgiving to first-year drivers, rookie Chris Buescher was able to tame the ‘Monster Mile’ on Friday afternoon.

Buescher topped the leaderboard for NASCAR Nationwide Series final practice in his No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Mustang by posting a top speed of 154.825 mph.

Buescher has a Nationwide win on the season at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in August, but is looking for his first win on an oval track.  The Texas native led the majority of the session as drivers tried to knock the rookie off the top.

Last week’s winner Brendan Gaughan put up the second fastest speed (153.991 mph), continuing the dominance of the Richard Childress Racing stable. Brian Scott led the first practice, and Cale Conley was fourth in final practice and comes off his career-best sixth-place finish at Kentucky Speedway last weekend.

One Sprint Cup Series moonlighter wound up in the top five, as Chase for the Sprint Cup contender Aric Almirola posted the third quickest time at 23.53 seconds (152.996 mph). Almirola is running the No. 98 Ford for Biagi-DenBeste Racing at Dover this weekend to gain additional track time. He sits 16th in the Chase Grid standings, just 10 points out of a transfer position to the Contender Round.

Defending fall race winner and four-time Dover NNS winner Joey Logano was seventh overall (151.764 mph), while June winner Kyle Busch clocked in 11th (150.899 mph). Busch was the highest Joe Gibbs Racing driver in final practice, as Justin Boston was 13th (150.439 mph) and Elliott Sadler finished the afternoon 16th (149.149 mph). Boston made his NNS debut last race at Kentucky with a ninth-place finish.

Scott clocked in at eighth-quickest in Happy Hour, and Alex Bowman made his return to NNS competition for the first time since Phoenix last November in the No. 80 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota. Bowman posted the ninth-fastest speed (151.388 mph).

Eight Sprint Cup Series drivers will run double-duty this weekend at Dover, as Kyle Larson, Landon Cassill, J.J. Yeley and Timmy Hill join Busch, Almirola, Logano and Bowman on the Nationwide grid.

Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Nationwide Series is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. ET on Saturday and will be shown live on FOX Sports 2.

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