After brushing the wall in first practice, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rebounded to pace Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series final practice on Friday afternoon at Darlington Raceway.
Stenhouse topped the charts at a speed of 168.845 miles per hour around the 1.366-mile track in preparation for Sunday nightâs Bojanglesâ Southern 500 (6 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing driver helped his team fix the damage to the car after earning his âDarlington stripeâ before the beginning of the 50-minute session.
Stenhouse wasnât the only driver who smacked the wall on Friday, though. The No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing team of Aric Almirola was forced to pull out the backup car after Almirola slammed the outside barrier at the exit of Turn 2. Martin Truex Jr. also kissed the fence in Turns 3 and 4, but he was able to continue in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota without significant damage.
Kyle Larsonâs lap of 168.764 mph was good enough for the second-fastest time in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. William Byron finished third with a lap of 168.480 mph, followed by Kurt Busch (168.261 mph) and Matt DiBenedetto (168.250 mph) to round out the top five.
Busch Pole qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Kurt Busch led the way as the official NASCAR Throwback Weekend kicked off with opening Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Darlington Raceway.
Busch topped the board with a pace of 171.261 mph around the 1.366-mile South Carolina egg-shaped oval in the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. William Byron laid down the second-fastest time in the 50-minute session at 170.703 mph in the Days of Thunder-inspired No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
Aric Almirola finished third at 170.065 mph, followed by Alex Bowman (169.989 mph) and Jimmie Johnson (169.660 mph) to complete the top five as those drivers made mock-qualifying runs late in the session.