Kyle Larson tops Kurt Busch in final Cup practice at Sonoma

Kyle Larson, who has won the last two poles at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, appears on track for a third.

Kyle Larson tops Kurt Busch in final Cup practice at Sonoma

Larson registered the fastest average lap speed in Friday’s final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice session at 95.469 mph.

Qualifying for Sunday’s Toyota SaveMart 350 is 3:10 p.m. ET Saturday.

Larson’s teammate at Chip Ganassi Racing, Kurt Busch, ended up second (94.986 mph) and Aric Almirola (94.421 mph). Clint Bowyer was fourth and Matt DiBenedetto rounded out the top-five.

“I spent a lot of practice working on the same old characteristics of Sonoma, which is nice. We are doing some work to make sure it drives off the corner as well as you are going to need,” DiBenedetto said before the start of the final 1 hour, 20-minute session.

“It needs to turn okay, and you need to be able to throttle down so you can set them up and stay close to their bumper to pull off a pass in Turn 7.”

Rounding out the top 10 were Parker Kligerman, who posted his fastest lap with just minutes remaining in session; William Byron; Alex Bowman; Ricky Stenhouse Jr.; and Ryan Blaney.

Drivers seemed much more confident navigating the Carousel this time around. The addition to the course this year plunges from Turn 4 down through Turns 5 and 6 before dropping onto the raceway’s longest straightaway into the Turn 7 hairpin. It adds about a half-mile to the course’s length.

Kyle Busch had some troubles on the course, spinning off the track briefly in Turn 2 early on and then went off course again near Turn 4 later in the session.

Bubba Wallace also went for a spin late in the session but was able to continue on without a problem.

Bowyer posted the fastest average lap speed of those drivers who ran at least 10 consecutive laps (93.416 mph). He was followed by Bowman and Larson, respectively, in that category.

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Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 27 1'35.026     95.469
2 1 United States Kurt Busch  Chevrolet 28 1'35.509 0.483 0.483 94.986
3 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 30 1'36.080 1.054 0.571 94.421
4 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 34 1'36.231 1.205 0.151 94.273
5 95 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Toyota 32 1'36.316 1.290 0.085 94.190
6 96 United States Parker Kligerman  Toyota 24 1'36.352 1.326 0.036 94.155
7 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 27 1'36.353 1.327 0.001 94.154
8 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 30 1'36.359 1.333 0.006 94.148
9 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 25 1'36.372 1.346 0.013 94.135
10 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 27 1'36.459 1.433 0.087 94.050
11 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 28 1'36.468 1.442 0.009 94.042
12 19 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 23 1'36.469 1.443 0.001 94.041
13 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 36 1'36.477 1.451 0.008 94.033
14 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 24 1'36.612 1.586 0.135 93.901
15 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 20 1'36.635 1.609 0.023 93.879
16 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 24 1'36.713 1.687 0.078 93.803
17 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 33 1'36.727 1.701 0.014 93.790
18 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 27 1'36.784 1.758 0.057 93.735
19 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 32 1'36.870 1.844 0.086 93.651
20 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 26 1'36.888 1.862 0.018 93.634
21 41 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Ford 27 1'36.890 1.864 0.002 93.632
22 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 28 1'36.975 1.949 0.085 93.550
23 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 27 1'36.989 1.963 0.014 93.536
24 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 33 1'36.993 1.967 0.004 93.533
25 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 26 1'37.028 2.002 0.035 93.499
26 47 United States Ryan Preece  Chevrolet 25 1'37.055 2.029 0.027 93.473
27 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 31 1'37.210 2.184 0.155 93.324
28 8 United States Daniel Hemric  Chevrolet 23 1'37.375 2.349 0.165 93.166
29 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 27 1'37.418 2.392 0.043 93.124
30 6 United States Ryan Newman  Ford 26 1'37.586 2.560 0.168 92.964
31 36 United States Matt Tifft  Ford 24 1'37.685 2.659 0.099 92.870
32 52 United States Cody Ware  Ford 15 1'37.868 2.842 0.183 92.696
33 32 United States Corey Lajoie  Ford 24 1'38.003 2.977 0.135 92.569
34 77 United States Justin Haley  Chevrolet 2 1'38.413 3.387 0.410 92.183
35 51 United States J.J. Yeley  Ford 8 1'41.332 6.306 2.919 89.527
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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Sonoma
Author Jim Utter
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