So far, Carl Edwards has done what he’s needed to do in the Chase. He finished runner-up to teammate Denny Hamlin last Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway, and Friday he took the pole for the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Edwards also topped Saturday’s first practice session at NHMS. The No. 19 topped the field with a time of 28.527 seconds and a speed of 133.516 mph.
As great as Edwards has been recently, his New Hampshire weekend almost took a negative turn. He clipped the wall late in the practice session and had slight damage on the right side of the car. The team will fix the damage and keep their primary car.
Edwards wasn’t the only one with issues in the practice session. 26-year-old Jeffrey Earnhardt, who will be making his second career Cup start on Sunday, pancaked the outside wall in his No. 32 Ford. The team also plans to fix Earnhardt’s primary car.
Edwards beat out Kevin Harvick, who was second quick, followed by Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Kurt Busch. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was sixth, while teammate Jimmie Johnson wound up in seventh. Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Austin Dillon round out the top 10.
Other Chase drivers include Paul Menard in 12th, Martin Truex Jr. in 13th, Jeff Gordon in 14th, Ryan Newman in 16th, Kyle Busch in 18th and Jamie McMurray in 20th. Clint Bowyer, who suffered a devastating points penalty following Chicagoland, was 26th on the speed charts.
The next practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at NHMS is at 11:30 a.m. and will be aired on CNBC.