For the third week in a row, rain has affected the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. This time, it shortened what was scheduled to be a 55-minute final practice session for the 43 teams. In the time that teams were able to get on the track, the leader board looked very familiar.
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Carl Edwards was fastest in the final session with a time of 28.614 seconds (133.110 mph). He was third fastest in the first practice on Saturday morning and will start the race from the pole. Kevin Harvick, who was fastest in Saturday morning practice, was second fastest in final practice with a speed of 132.397 mph. Wood Brothers Racing’s Ryan Blaney continues to impress this weekend. After being fastest in the opening round of qualifying and qualifying 16th on Friday, Blaney was ninth fastest on Saturday morning and third fastest in the final session.
JGR’s other three drivers, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth, were all inside the top 10 in final practice. Busch was fourth, Hamlin was fifth and Kenseth was ninth. All four Gibbs Toyotas will start inside the top eight for the Sunday’s 5-hour Energy 301.
Meanwhile, 5-hour Energy driver Clint Bowyer, after making contact with Jeff Gordon in the first Saturday practice, had repairs made to his car and was sixth fastest in final practice. Speaking about the incident, Bowyer stated that the No. 24 pit crew member who was clearing Gordon to exit his garage stall did not look to see that Bowyer was coming, and the two cars made contact.
Defending June Loudon winner Brad Keselowski was seventh fastest in final practice with a speed of 131.934 mph. Two-time Loudon winner Joey Logano ended the session with the 10th-fastest time. Kyle Larson was eighth fastest in final practice. His No. 42 Target Chevrolet had a fast time of 28.897 seconds (131.806 mph).
Three-time New Hampshire winner Kurt Busch was eleventh fastest in practice. Hendrick Motorsports drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne were 12th, 13th and 16th respectively. Martin Truex Jr. and David Ragan, driving the car that won this race in 2013, completed the top 15. Gordon, after having repairs made to his car, was 22nd fastest overall.