Ryan Newman, who qualified second Friday afternoon, led the final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice session Saturday. Posting a 184.868 mph lap, the driver of the No. 31 Chevrolet held the top spot throughout most of the 80 minute practice.
“I feel like we’ve got a good car,” Newman said following the session. “I think for sure a top 10 car, maybe a top five car, but the Liberty National Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was good off the truck and with this whole one Happy Hour it kind of changes things a little bit in how you approach it. Just look forward to the race whenever we get to it, whenever Mother Nature allows us and feel like we will be plenty competitive, just got to put it all together.”
Martin Truex Jr., who was forced to serve a 30-minute practice hold after his car failed inspection three times on Saturday was second-quickest. Paul Menard was third fastest, followed by Denny Hamlin. Joey Logano rounded out the top five.
Jimmie Johnson, who has five wins and 16 top 10s in 26 starts at Atlanta, came in sixth quickest. Chris Buescher, who finished fifth at Daytona International Speedway last weekend, ended up on the charts, followed by Ryan Blaney. Clint Bowyer and Darrell Wallace Jr. rounded out the top 10.
Meanwhile, polesitter Kyle Busch ended the session 15th on the speed charts.
In total, seven drivers served practice holds at the end of the session. Teams are still not allowed to work on their cars during those holds, however instead of sitting on pit road with the driver strapped in, they sit empty in the garage stall.
15-minute practice hold for being late to inspection
00 J. Earnhardt
15 minute practice hold for failing inspection twice
30 minute hold for failed 3x
All to be served during final practice #NASCAR
— Chris Knight (@Knighter01) February 24, 2018
Sunday’s schedule for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 was adjusted Saturday morning due to the threat of inclement weather. The race is set to begin at 1 p.m. ET.
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