NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Martin Truex, Jr. Paces Final Cup Series Practice of Year at Homestead

Early on into the 50-minute final practice session, Martin Truex, Jr. hopped to the top of the leaderboard with a lap of 174.289 mph. That speed held as the single-car Furniture Row Racing outfit paced the field for the rest of Happy Hour.

The No. 78 Toyota team, who was in contention for the championship one year ago at Homestead-Miami Speedway is not eligible this year. However, a victory Sunday would make Truex the season leader in that category with five.

Carl Edwards finished practice in the runner-up position (174.031 mph), best of the Championship 4 drivers. The No. 19 team turned 43 laps, the most of those who were championship eligible. That success didn’t come without some drama, though; with a few minutes to go in the session, Edwards narrowly missed Danica Patrick coming onto pit road while practicing a green-flag pit stop.

Ryan Newman, continuing a strong weekend led the RCR drivers in third (172.723 mph). The No. 31 Chevrolet will also begin the 400-mile race on Sunday from the third spot. AJ Allmendinger was fourth (172.502 mph) while Chase Elliott rounded out the top-5 speeds (172.408 mph).

Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Championship 4 driver Joey Logano, Tony Stewart and six-time champion Jimmie Johnson made up the top 10.

Johnson had a near-miss 10 minutes into practice when he hit a break hose. Chad Knaus called the No. 48 car to the garage to repair the right side of his splitter, a piece which received minimal damage in the accident. The No. 48 team remains confident after having posted the top speed in Saturday morning practice.

Kyle Busch was the slowest on one-lap speed of the championship drivers in 14th, six-tenths of a second off the hot lap turned by Truex. The No. 18 car was also the slowest among the Championship 4 drivers in each of Saturday’s practices, but leveled off on the long run to be one of the quickest on old tires. By comparison, Logano was shown as the weakest of the Championship 4 drivers over the long run.

Pole sitter Kevin Harvick was 11th in final practice, improving on 20th earlier Saturday. However, the No. 4 team led the way on 10-lap speed at 168.286 mph.

Brad Keselowski ran 52 laps, the most of the 40 competitors. His best one-lap speed ranked him 15th quick, improving on his 22nd-fastest lap earlier Saturday morning.

The green flag is set to wave on the championship race shortly after 2:00 p.m. ET tomorrow.

Click here for full results from final practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway. 

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