Kyle Busch led the field in the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice on Friday afternoon (Sept. 15) from Chicagoland Speedway ahead of the first race of the 2017 playoffs.
Busch’s fastest lap of 184.143 mph (29.325 seconds), which came on his seventh and final lap, just bested his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Daniel Suarez (183.418 mph), who finished the 85-minute opening session second on the speed charts.
The Toyota party continued right behind that JGR duo, as Denny Hamlin and defending Chicagoland winner Martin Truex Jr. finished the session in third and fourth. Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five.
Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Danica Patrick, Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top 10 when the session concluded.
Other playoffs drivers included Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman, who finished the session just outside the top 10 in 11th and 12th, respectively. Austin Dillon, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray were 14th-16th, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Jimmie Johnson were 18th and 19th quickest.
Elliott completed the most circuits in the top 10 around the 1.5-mile oval in Joliet, Ill., with 26. Joey Logano topped the No. 24 with 28 laps. There were no on-track incidents that slowed practice.
Only two drivers ran 10 or more laps consecutively: Chase Elliott (175.347 mph average) and Matt DiBenedetto (170.50 mph).
Next up on the docket for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers is qualifying at 6:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Kyle Busch won the pole for this event last season.
About the author
Davey is in his fifth season with Frontstretch and currently serves as a multimedia editor and reporter. He authors the "NASCAR Mailbox" column, spearheads the site's video content and hosts the Frontstretch Podcast weekly. He's covered the K&N Pro Series and ARCA extensively for NASCAR.com and currently serves as an associate producer for SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and production assistant for NBC Sports Washington. Follow him on Twitter @DaveyCenter.
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