Elliott, Byron top Phoenix practices

Chase Elliott
Chase Elliott
Ralph Garcia/AR1.com

Chase Elliott pushed atop the speed chart in final NASCAR Cup Series practice at Phoenix Raceway as Hendrick Motorsports swept both Friday sessions.

Elliott forged a 134.213-mph lap on the 1-mile Arizona track in Hendrick’s No. 9 Chevrolet. He was also second to teammate William Byron, who led opening practice and sealed the eighth-fastest speed in final practice.

The 50-minute session was the final tune-up before Saturday’s Busch Pole Qualifying and Sunday’s FanShield 500 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Kyle Busch landed the second-fastest lap at 134.203 mph — just 0.002 seconds off Elliott’s time — in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota. Aric Almirola, Alex Bowman and Ty Dillon rounded out the top five in order.

Kevin Harvick, the series’ winningest driver at Phoenix with nine victories, was 13th in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Ford, but did have the best 10-lap average final practice.

Clint Bowyer
Clint Bowyer
Ralph Garcia/AR1.com

Qualifying to determine the 38-car starting lineup is set for Saturday at 2:35 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

NASCAR officials held three Cup Series teams for portions of final practice for technical infractions incurred last week at Auto Club Speedway. The following teams served 15-minute deductions: The No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet of Kurt Busch and the No. 52 Rick Ware Racing Ford of JJ Yeley. The Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota of Martin Truex Jr. had 30 minutes deducted from final practice for three inspection failures last weekend.

Byron leads 1-2 Hendrick sweep in first practice

William Byron powered to the top of the NASCAR Cup Series leaderboard in Friday’s opening practice at Phoenix Raceway, leading a 1-2 sweep by Hendrick Motorsports drivers.

Byron survived a minor wall scrape and registered a 134.595-mph lap in Hendrick’s No. 24 Chevrolet. He was just ahead of teammate Chase Elliott, who turned a 133.849 lap in the No. 9 Chevy.

“Just gotta know where the wall’s at, you know, and I was just trying to get my angle for Turn 1 and just nicked it a little bit," Byron told FOX Sports. “Just got to figure out where it is. We have a little more windshield block out here, so my line of sight’s a little different. So just getting used to that. The car’s pretty good. I think we’re about P10 or 11 in race trim. Need a little more speed, but I thought qualifying trim was obviously good, too."

Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch completed the top five in the 50-minute session.

Three teams absorbed minor tangles with the outside retaining wall. Corey LaJoie’s tap was the more pronounced of the three after his Go Fas Racing No. 32 Ford slipped out of the groove with 10 minutes left in the opening session. Aric Almirola and Byron pressed on after brief right-side scrapes.

Practice 1 Times

Pos No. Driver Team Time Speed
1 24 William Byron Hertz Chevrolet 26.747 134.595
2 9 Chase Elliott UniFirst Chevrolet 26.896 133.849
3 2 Brad Keselowski Alliance Parts Ford 27.005 133.309
4 14 Clint Bowyer Mobil 1/Haas CNC Ford 27.02 133.235
5 1 Kurt Busch GEARWRENCH Chevrolet 27.023 133.22
6 18 Kyle Busch Sport Clips Toyota 27.036 133.156
7 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 27.055 133.062
8 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's Freaky Rewards Ford 27.076 132.959
9 20 Erik Jones Interstate Batteries Toyota 27.115 132.768
10 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Tarkett Ford 27.141 132.641
11 41 Cole Custer # Haas Automation Ford 27.164 132.528
12 88 Alex Bowman Axalta Chevrolet 27.166 132.519
13 8 Tyler Reddick # I Am Second Chevrolet 27.175 132.475
14 6 Ross Chastain(i) Oscar Mayer Ford 27.181 132.445
15 42 Kyle Larson McDonald's Chevrolet 27.194 132.382
16 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 27.196 132.372
17 48 Jimmie Johnson Ally Chevrolet 27.215 132.28
18 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Freight Toyota 27.22 132.256
19 37 Ryan Preece Velveeta Chevrolet 27.239 132.163
20 21 Matt DiBenedetto Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford 27.247 132.125
21 95 Christopher Bell # Procore Toyota 27.255 132.086
22 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Kroger Chevrolet 27.292 131.907
23 3 Austin Dillon Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Off Road Chev 27.298 131.878
24 19 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pro Shops Toyota 27.308 131.83
25 34 Michael McDowell Love's Travel Stops Ford 27.336 131.694
26 38 John H. Nemechek # MDS Transport Ford 27.343 131.661
27 43 Bubba Wallace World Wide Technology Chevrolet 27.389 131.44
28 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet 27.392 131.425
29 32 Corey LaJoie Motor Trend Ford 27.477 131.019
30 17 Chris Buescher SunnyD Ford 27.538 130.728
31 *96 Daniel Suarez CommScope Toyota 27.731 129.819
32 52 JJ Yeley(i) Jacob Construction Ford 27.75 129.73
33 15 Brennan Poole # Goettl Chevrolet 27.88 129.125
34 0 Quin Houff # Mount-N-Lock/Ashurst Honey Chev 28.317 127.132
35 51 Garrett Smithley Jacob Construction Chevrolet 28.522 126.218
36 53 Joey Gase(i) Chevrolet 28.529 126.187
37 77 Reed Sorenson Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 30.968 116.249

Practice 2 Times

Pos No. Driver Team Time Speed
1 9 Chase Elliott UniFirst Chevrolet 26.823 134.213
2 18 Kyle Busch Sport Clips Toyota 26.825 134.203
3 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 26.935 133.655
4 88 Alex Bowman Axalta Chevrolet 26.986 133.403
5 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet 27.013 133.269
6 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Kroger Chevrolet 27.112 132.783
7 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 27.135 132.67
8 24 William Byron Hertz Chevrolet 27.14 132.646
9 20 Erik Jones Interstate Batteries Toyota 27.146 132.616
10 2 Brad Keselowski Alliance Parts Ford 27.166 132.519
11 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Tarkett Ford 27.168 132.509
12 1 Kurt Busch GEARWRENCH Chevrolet 27.173 132.484
13 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's Freaky Rewards Ford 27.176 132.47
14 95 Christopher Bell # Procore Toyota 27.193 132.387
15 37 Ryan Preece Velveeta Chevrolet 27.227 132.222
16 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Freight Toyota 27.241 132.154
17 41 Cole Custer # Haas Automation Ford 27.254 132.091
18 14 Clint Bowyer Mobil 1/Haas CNC Ford 27.269 132.018
19 48 Jimmie Johnson Ally Chevrolet 27.276 131.984
20 21 Matt DiBenedetto Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford 27.276 131.984
21 42 Kyle Larson McDonald's Chevrolet 27.314 131.801
22 8 Tyler Reddick # I Am Second Chevrolet 27.32 131.772
23 3 Austin Dillon Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Off Road Chev 27.342 131.666
24 34 Michael McDowell Love's Travel Stops Ford 27.4 131.387
25 19 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pro Shops Toyota 27.422 131.281
26 43 Bubba Wallace World Wide Technology Chevrolet 27.423 131.277
27 6 Ross Chastain(i) Oscar Mayer Ford 27.462 131.09
28 38 John H. Nemechek # MDS Transport Ford 27.488 130.966
29 17 Chris Buescher SunnyD Ford 27.49 130.957
30 32 Corey LaJoie Motor Trend Ford 27.551 130.667
31 52 JJ Yeley(i) Jacob Construction Ford 27.899 129.037
32 15 Brennan Poole # Goettl Chevrolet 27.947 128.815
33 *96 Daniel Suarez CommScope Toyota 27.95 128.801
34 0 Quin Houff # Mount-N-Lock/Ashurst Honey Chev 28.304 127.191
35 *66 Timmy Hill(i) PIT BOSS GRILLS Toyota 28.423 126.658
36 51 Garrett Smithley Jacob Construction Chevrolet 28.438 126.591
37 77 Reed Sorenson Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 28.66 125.611
38 53 Joey Gase(i) Chevrolet 28.742 125.252

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