Truex Jr. leads both Cup practice sessions at Martinsville

Truex Jr.
Truex Jr.

Martin Truex Jr. picked up where he left off last week at Auto Club Speedway, leading the first Cup Series practice at Martinsville in his Toyota with a speed of 95.752 MPH, topping Brad Keselowski’s Ford by 0.022 seconds to lead the session. Toyota driver Kyle Busch was third, the Chevrolet of Ryan Newman fourth and Kurt Busch in a Ford fifth, meaning all three manufacturers were represented in the top 5.

Chase Elliott, returning to the scene of a near-win before he was spun by Denny Hamlin last fall, ran sixth. Kyle Larson was seventh, Hamlin eighth and teammates Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top 10 in the session.

Other notables include three-time 2018 winner Kevin Harvick in 15th and nine-time Martinsville winner Jimmie Johnson in 20th. Series Rookie of the Year candidates William Byron and Darrell Wallace, Jr. were 18th and 28th respectively.

Because Sunday’s STP 500 is an impound race, most teams did not practice in qualifying trim in either session, preferring to qualify with the cars race-ready since no adjustments can be made. This follows a NASCAR mandate for a single inspection between qualifying and the start of the race, down from two separate trips through tech.

The second and final practice of the day went much the same as the first, with Truex’s lap of 95.415 besting Keselowski’s 95.280. Sophomore Daniel Suarez jumped to third on the board, followed by Kyle Busch and Newman in the top 5.

AJ Allmendinger, who’s had some strong races at Martinsville, was sixth on the charts while Aric Almirola, another Martinsville specialist, slotted in in seventh. Also posting top 10 times were Jamie McMurray, Blaney and Clint Bowyer. Johnson continued to struggle, posting a speed of good for only 28th on the chart.

Tire wear looks to be a critical area to watch Sunday; Truex’s lap times dropped by more than seven MPH over the course of the session. Amy Henderson reporting Live from Martinsville

Practice 1 Results

Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed Behind
1 78 Martin Truex Jr. 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota 19.776 95.752 —.—
2 2 Brad Keselowski Reese/DrawTite Ford 19.798 95.646 -0.022
3 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Caramel Toyota 19.888 95.213 -0.112
4 31 Ryan Newman eBay Motors Chevrolet 19.891 95.199 -0.115
5 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford 19.913 95.094 -0.137
6 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 19.915 95.084 -0.139
7 42 Kyle Larson Credit One Bank/DC Solar Chevrolet 19.919 95.065 -0.143
8 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Ground Toyota 19.932 95.003 -0.156
9 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 19.937 94.979 -0.161
10 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Libman Ford 19.944 94.946 -0.168
11 14 Clint Bowyer Haas Automation Demo Day Ford 19.971 94.818 -0.195
12 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet 19.973 94.808 -0.197
13 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet 19.990 94.727 -0.214
14 19 Daniel Suarez ARRIS Toyota 20.002 94.671 -0.226
15 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's Ford 20.020 94.585 -0.244
16 1 Jamie McMurray First Data Chevrolet 20.020 94.585 -0.244
17 20 Erik Jones Circle K Toyota 20.035 94.515 -0.259
18 24 William Byron # Liberty University Chevrolet 20.043 94.477 -0.267
19 10 Aric Almirola Mobil 1 Ford 20.046 94.463 -0.270
20 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet 20.067 94.364 -0.291
21 3 Austin Dillon American Ethanol Chevrolet 20.072 94.340 -0.296
22 37 Chris Buescher Bush's Beans Chevrolet 20.102 94.200 -0.326
23 21 Paul Menard Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford 20.107 94.176 -0.331
24 88 Alex Bowman Nationwide Chevrolet 20.110 94.162 -0.334
25 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fastenal Ford 20.111 94.157 -0.335
26 6 Trevor Bayne AdvoCare Ford 20.113 94.148 -0.337
27 38 David Ragan MDS Transport Ford 20.114 94.143 -0.338
28 43 Darrell Wallace Jr. # STP Chevrolet 20.117 94.129 -0.341
29 95 Kasey Kahne WRL General Contractors Chevrolet 20.142 94.013 -0.366
30 34 Michael McDowell A&W All American Food Ford 20.171 93.877 -0.395
31 23 Gray Gaulding Earthwater Toyota 20.223 93.636 -0.447
32 72 Cole Whitt TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet 20.230 93.604 -0.454
33 32 Matt DiBenedetto Can-Am/Wholey Ford 20.265 93.442 -0.489
34 15 Ross Chastain(i) ChampionMachinery.com Chevrolet 20.330 93.143 -0.554
35 *55 JJ Yeley(i) Adirondack Tree Surgeons Chevrolet 20.383 92.901 -0.607
36 00 Landon Cassill USFRA.org/StarCom Fiber Chevrolet 20.670 91.611 -0.894
37 *96 DJ Kennington Gordon Brothers Toyota 20.699 91.483 -0.923
38 51 Harrison Rhodes Custom Aircraft Cabinets Chevrolet 20.711 91.430 -0.935

Practice 2 Results

Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed Behind
1 78 Martin Truex Jr. 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota 19.846 95.415 —.—
2 2 Brad Keselowski Reese/DrawTite Ford 19.874 95.280 -0.028
3 19 Daniel Suarez ARRIS Toyota 19.882 95.242 -0.036
4 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Caramel Toyota 19.907 95.122 -0.061
5 31 Ryan Newman eBay Motors Chevrolet 19.984 94.756 -0.138
6 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet 19.986 94.746 -0.140
7 10 Aric Almirola Mobil 1 Ford 19.994 94.708 -0.148
8 1 Jamie McMurray First Data Chevrolet 20.008 94.642 -0.162
9 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Libman Ford 20.012 94.623 -0.166
10 14 Clint Bowyer Haas Automation Demo Day Ford 20.018 94.595 -0.172
11 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 20.018 94.595 -0.172
12 42 Kyle Larson Credit One Bank/DC Solar Chevrolet 20.047 94.458 -0.201
13 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford 20.048 94.453 -0.202
14 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet 20.050 94.444 -0.204
15 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 20.051 94.439 -0.205
16 3 Austin Dillon American Ethanol Chevrolet 20.065 94.373 -0.219
17 21 Paul Menard Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford 20.077 94.317 -0.231
18 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Ground Toyota 20.094 94.237 -0.248
19 24 William Byron # Liberty University Chevrolet 20.097 94.223 -0.251
20 38 David Ragan MDS Transport Ford 20.119 94.120 -0.273
21 88 Alex Bowman Nationwide Chevrolet 20.120 94.115 -0.274
22 6 Trevor Bayne AdvoCare Ford 20.125 94.092 -0.279
23 20 Erik Jones Circle K Toyota 20.127 94.083 -0.281
24 43 Darrell Wallace Jr. # STP Chevrolet 20.130 94.069 -0.284
25 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's Ford 20.133 94.055 -0.287
26 37 Chris Buescher Bush's Beans Chevrolet 20.157 93.943 -0.311
27 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fastenal Ford 20.162 93.919 -0.316
28 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet 20.181 93.831 -0.335
29 72 Cole Whitt TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet 20.238 93.567 -0.392
30 95 Kasey Kahne WRL General Contractors Chevrolet 20.241 93.553 -0.395
31 34 Michael McDowell A&W All American Food Ford 20.299 93.285 -0.453
32 32 Matt DiBenedetto Can-Am/Wholey Ford 20.303 93.267 -0.457
33 15 Ross Chastain(i) ChampionMachinery.com Chevrolet 20.309 93.240 -0.463
34 23 Gray Gaulding Earthwater Toyota 20.364 92.988 -0.518
35 00 Landon Cassill USFRA.org/StarCom Fiber Chevrolet 20.400 92.824 -0.554
36 *96 DJ Kennington Gordon Brothers Toyota 20.538 92.200 -0.692
37 *55 JJ Yeley(i) Adirondack Tree Surgeons Chevrolet 20.632 91.780 -0.786
38 51 Harrison Rhodes Custom Aircraft Cabinets Chevrolet 20.743 91.289 -0.897

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