Race Weekend Central

Matt Kenseth Leads Opening Practice at Dover

As the opening round of the 2017 Cup Series playoffs come to a close this weekend, Matt Kenseth, yet to win in 2017 topped the speed chart in Friday morning’s practice at Dover International Speedway. The No. 20 turned a lap of 162.550 mph, 0.072 second ahead of the next fastest time.

Flashback to the end of the spring 2016 race when Kenseth and Kyle Larson battled for the victory, that’s how the end of this session ended. The No. 42 team turned a time of 161.247 mph. 11-time Dover winner Jimmie Johnson was third on the board at 162.023 mph, with Kyle Busch in fourth (161.980 mph) and Kevin Harvick rounding out the top five (160.937 mph).

Kurt Busch was sixth, and is 17 points behind the cutoff spot heading into Sunday’s race. Chase Elliott was seventh, with Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Daniel Suarez rounding out the top 10.

In drivers that are within a point of the cutoff position, Ryan Newman led the way in 11th. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was 25th on the board, while Austin Dilllon was 27th, the lowest of all playoff drivers.

Joey Logano and Trevor Bayne both turned 29 laps, the most of the 40-car field.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying is scheduled to get underway at 3:45 p.m. ET on Friday. Kyle Busch won the pole in the spring.

About the author

Dustin joined the Frontstretch team at the beginning of the 2016 season. 2020 marks his sixth full-time season covering the sport that he grew up loving. His dream was to one day be a NASCAR journalist, thus why he attended Ithaca College (Class of 2018) to earn a journalism degree. Since the ripe age of four, he knew he wanted to be a storyteller.

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