Penske Fords tops Martinsville practice sessions

Can Logano win the pole again later today?
Can Logano win the pole again later today?

Trouble came early for playoff contender Chase Elliott at Martinsville Speedway as the Georgia native’s engine failed just five laps into the weekend’s first practice session. The No. 9 Chevrolet burst into flames on track as Elliott made his first run of the day, bringing out the red flag for fluid on the track. Elliott will start at the rear of the field on Sunday due to the change, a challenge at Martinsville where the leaders will catch the tail of the field very quickly.

While Elliott was waiting for the second practice and a fresh engine, defending race winner Joey Logano led the field in the first session, posting a top lap time of 19.591 seconds (96.656 mph). Martin Truex Jr. was second with a lap of 19.689 seconds. Five-time Martinsville winner Denny Hamlin was third, with Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch rounding out the top five.

Chris Buescher, Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola, Daniel Suarez and nine-time Martinsville winner Jimmie Johnson completed the top 10.

Other notables included title hopefuls Kevin Harvick (12th; docked 30 minutes of time from inspection issues in Kansas) and Kyle Larson (13th). Spring race winner Brad Keselowski finished the session in 21st.

Truck Series veteran Matt Crafton ran both sessions in the No. 36 Ford for regular driver Matt Tifft, who was taken to the hospital early Saturday from the infield care center for an undisclosed illness. Matt Crafton will race the No. 36 on Sunday.

Team Statement:

This morning, Matt Tifft was transported to a local hospital in Martinsville, Virginia for further evaluation and tests after suffering a medical condition at the track. Tifft was evaluated and released from the hospital and is returning home. Further updates will be sent when appropriate.

Keselowski hit the track in qualifying trim for the second session of the day and went straight to the top of the charts with a 19.667-second lap (96.283 mph). Teammate Blaney was second with a 19.774-second lap, best among the remaining playoff drivers. Kurt Busch, Daniel Hemric and Ryan Preece rounded out the top five.

Elliott, William Byron, Erik Jones, Clint Bowyer and Michael McDowell finished sixth-10th in the session.

Results were mixed in final practice for the playoff drivers, with some not electing to make mock qualifying runs. Kyle Busch was 15thth in the session, Hamlin 16th, Kevin Harvick 17th, Logano 18th, Truex 20th and Larson 21st.

The First Data 500 will run Sunday at 3:00 pm. Qualifying will take place Saturday at 4:45. Amy Henderson reporting for AR1.com

Practice 1 Results

Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed -Fastest -Next
1 22 Joey Logano (P) Shell Pennzoil Ford 19.591 96.657 —.— —.—
2 19 Martin Truex Jr (P) Auto Owners Insurance Toyota 19.689 96.176 -0.098 -0.098
3 11 Denny Hamlin (P) FedEx Freight Toyota 19.732 95.966 -0.141 -0.043
4 14 Clint Bowyer BlueDEF Ford 19.755 95.854 -0.164 -0.023
5 18 Kyle Busch (P) M&M's Halloween Toyota 19.785 95.709 -0.194 -0.030
6 37 Chris Buescher Clorox Chevrolet 19.811 95.583 -0.220 -0.026
7 12 Ryan Blaney (P) Menards/Richmond Ford 19.853 95.381 -0.262 -0.042
8 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 19.854 95.376 -0.263 -0.001
9 41 Daniel Suarez Haas Automation Ford 19.881 95.247 -0.290 -0.027
10 48 Jimmie Johnson Ally Chevrolet 19.884 95.232 -0.293 -0.003
11 20 Erik Jones Craftsman Toyota 19.900 95.156 -0.309 -0.016
12 4 Kevin Harvick (P) Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford 19.901 95.151 -0.310 -0.001
13 42 Kyle Larson (P) Clover Chevrolet 19.908 95.118 -0.317 -0.007
14 9 Chase Elliott (P) Mountain Dew Chevrolet 19.913 95.094 -0.322 -0.005
15 8 Daniel Hemric # Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet 19.914 95.089 -0.323 -0.001
16 88 Alex Bowman Llumar Chevrolet 19.929 95.017 -0.338 -0.015
17 3 Austin Dillon American Ethanol Chevrolet 19.947 94.932 -0.356 -0.018
18 95 Matt DiBenedetto Toyota Express Maintenance Toyota 19.956 94.889 -0.365 -0.009
19 38 David Ragan MDS Transport Ford 19.957 94.884 -0.366 -0.001
20 1 Kurt Busch Global Poker Chevrolet 19.957 94.884 -0.366 -0.000
21 2 Brad Keselowski Alliance Truck Parts Ford 19.961 94.865 -0.370 -0.004
22 21 Paul Menard Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 19.973 94.808 -0.382 -0.012
23 24 William Byron Liberty University Chevrolet 19.974 94.803 -0.383 -0.001
24 6 Ryan Newman Blue Bird Ford 19.993 94.713 -0.402 -0.019
25 43 Bubba Wallace Victory Junction Chevrolet 20.004 94.661 -0.413 -0.011
26 47 Ryan Preece # Kroger Chevrolet 20.013 94.619 -0.422 -0.009
27 34 Michael McDowell A&W All American Foods Ford 20.028 94.548 -0.437 -0.015
28 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet 20.040 94.491 -0.449 -0.012
29 32 Corey LaJoie CorvetteParts.net Ford 20.042 94.482 -0.451 -0.002
30 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Fifth Third Bank Ford 20.075 94.326 -0.484 -0.033
31 36 Matt Crafton(i) Surface Sunscreen/Tunity Ford 20.247 93.525 -0.656 -0.172
32 15 Ross Chastain(i) VIPRacingExperience.com Chevrolet 20.384 92.896 -0.793 -0.137
33 *27 Reed Sorenson VIPRacingExperience.com Chevrolet 20.651 91.695 -1.060 -0.267
34 77 Timmy Hill(i) Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 20.702 91.469 -1.111 -0.051
35 00 Landon Cassill(i) Sea Deck/Units Chevrolet 20.716 91.408 -1.125 -0.014
36 51 BJ McLeod(i) JACOB COMPANIES Chevrolet 20.936 90.447 -1.345 -0.220
37 52 Garrett Smithley(i) RICH MAR FLORIST.COM Chevrolet 21.027 90.056 -1.436 -0.091
38 *53 JJ Yeley(i) GOTTA KILL IT TO HEAL IT Chevrolet 21.042 89.991 -1.451 -0.015

Practice 2 Results

Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed -Fastest -Next
1 2 Brad Keselowski Alliance Truck Parts Ford 19.667 96.283 —.— —.—
2 12 Ryan Blaney (P) Menards/Richmond Ford 19.774 95.762 -0.107 -0.107
3 1 Kurt Busch Global Poker Chevrolet 19.786 95.704 -0.119 -0.012
4 8 Daniel Hemric # Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet 19.809 95.593 -0.142 -0.023
5 47 Ryan Preece # Kroger Chevrolet 19.833 95.477 -0.166 -0.024
6 9 Chase Elliott (P) Mountain Dew Chevrolet 19.835 95.468 -0.168 -0.002
7 24 William Byron Liberty University Chevrolet 19.925 95.036 -0.258 -0.090
8 20 Erik Jones Craftsman Toyota 19.966 94.841 -0.299 -0.041
9 14 Clint Bowyer BlueDEF Ford 19.968 94.832 -0.301 -0.002
10 34 Michael McDowell A&W All American Foods Ford 19.996 94.699 -0.329 -0.028
11 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet 20.005 94.656 -0.338 -0.009
12 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 20.014 94.614 -0.347 -0.009
13 88 Alex Bowman Llumar Chevrolet 20.024 94.567 -0.357 -0.010
14 32 Corey LaJoie CorvetteParts.net Ford 20.034 94.519 -0.367 -0.010
15 18 Kyle Busch (P) M&M's Halloween Toyota 20.036 94.510 -0.369 -0.002
16 11 Denny Hamlin (P) FedEx Freight Toyota 20.040 94.491 -0.373 -0.004
17 4 Kevin Harvick (P) Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford 20.042 94.482 -0.375 -0.002
18 22 Joey Logano (P) Shell Pennzoil Ford 20.046 94.463 -0.379 -0.004
19 41 Daniel Suarez Haas Automation Ford 20.048 94.453 -0.381 -0.002
20 19 Martin Truex Jr (P) Auto Owners Insurance Toyota 20.057 94.411 -0.390 -0.009
21 42 Kyle Larson (P) Clover Chevrolet 20.063 94.383 -0.396 -0.006
22 48 Jimmie Johnson Ally Chevrolet 20.127 94.083 -0.460 -0.064
23 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Fifth Third Bank Ford 20.156 93.947 -0.489 -0.029
24 43 Bubba Wallace Victory Junction Chevrolet 20.165 93.905 -0.498 -0.009
25 95 Matt DiBenedetto Toyota Express Maintenance Toyota 20.166 93.901 -0.499 -0.001
26 37 Chris Buescher Clorox Chevrolet 20.176 93.854 -0.509 -0.010
27 6 Ryan Newman Blue Bird Ford 20.190 93.789 -0.523 -0.014
28 21 Paul Menard Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 20.241 93.553 -0.574 -0.051
29 38 David Ragan MDS Transport Ford 20.246 93.530 -0.579 -0.005
30 3 Austin Dillon American Ethanol Chevrolet 20.247 93.525 -0.580 -0.001
31 36 Matt Crafton(i) Surface Sunscreen/Tunity Ford 20.494 92.398 -0.827 -0.247
32 00 Landon Cassill(i) Sea Deck/Units Chevrolet 20.832 90.899 -1.165 -0.338
33 51 BJ McLeod(i) JACOB COMPANIES Chevrolet 21.043 89.987 -1.376 -0.211
34 *53 JJ Yeley(i) GOTTA KILL IT TO HEAL IT Chevrolet 21.088 89.795 -1.421 -0.045
35 52 Garrett Smithley(i) RICH MAR FLORIST.COM Chevrolet 21.340 88.735 -1.673 -0.252

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