Ryan Blaney, Brandon Jones pace MENCS/Xfinity Series practice on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway

Ryan Blaney

Penske Racing driver Ryan Blaney paced the field in the first round of practice at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday, leading the field with a 14.774 time and a speed of 129.877 mph at the World’s Fastest-Half Mile.

Xfinity driver Brandon Jones was the fastest in practice in the Menards Toyota with a leading time of 15.495 and average speed of 123.833 mph.

Blaney paced the field in a practice session that saw Cup drivers AJ Allmendinger spin coming out of turn two on the backstretch and later saw Kevin Harvick smack the outside wall coming out of turn four. Allmendinger sustained no visible damage to the body of his Kroger machine but Harvick would be forced to go to a backup car and to get the Busch Beer Ford ready before qualifying at 4:45 pm.

Other notables in MENCS practice included Erik Jones in second, Kurt Busch in third, brother Kyle Busch in fourth and Kyle Larson rounding out the top five.

Last year’s Food City 500 winner Jimmie Johnson was 14th in the practice session while teammate Alex Bowman, driving the 88 Nationwide Chevrolet was the highest finishing Hendrick car in practice, placing seventh with a 14.482 time and a 129.282 speed navigating around The Last Great Colosseum.

Series champion Martin Truex, Jr. was tenth in practice with Darrell “Bubba” Wallace in the STP Chevrolet placing 21st in practice.

In the Xfinity Series practice rundown, Justin Allgaier was second with a 15.535 time and a 123.515 mph speed, Ryan Preece was third, Christopher Bell in fourth and Austin CIndric rounding out the top five. Daniel Hemric placed eighth with Tyler Reddick, 10th. Emporia, VA’s Elliott Sadler was 31st in practice in the Armour Meats Chevrolet.

The MENCS regulars will qualify for the Bush Beans Pole Award late Friday afternoon and then look to dial in their cars with a practice session tomorrow morning, followed by qualifying for the Xfinity series and the 1:00pm running of the FItzgerald Glider Kits 300 race.

The NASCAR K&N Series will be in action around 4:00 pm for the Zombie Auto 150 race and then on Sunday at 2:00 pm, its the running of the Food City 500 for the MENCS circuit.

By Rod Mullins / Augusta Free Press


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