The NASCAR XFINITY Series had a pair of practice sessions early on Friday morning, preparing for the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway. Christopher Bell and Cole Custer were quickest in the opening session, running identical lap times.
After turning the ninth-quickest time in opening practice, John Hunter Nemechek led the way in final practice, making just his fourth career start.
Both of these sessions were run in cool temperatures, much like how the race will end Friday evening.
In opening practice, Bell and Custer ran an identical lap of 121.902 mph, .002 seconds ahead of Noah Gragson (121.891 mph), who is making his XFINITY Series debut this weekend. Gragson is driving the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Ryan Preece took to victory last week at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Justin Allgaier, Spencer Gallagher, Nemechek, Jeff Green and hometown driver Brandon Brown filled out the top 10. Dash 4 Cash drivers Daniel Hemric finished the session in 14th with Elliott Sadler just behind in 15th.
16 drivers made a run of at least 10 laps. Bell was on top of the charts for those drivers with a 10-lap average of 120.622 mph.
Nemechek paced the field in final practice at 119.090 mph, .013 seconds ahead of Allgaier (119.021 mph), who led a career-high 157 laps in this race last April.
Gragson was third for the second consecutive practice (119.006 mph), while Bell was fourth (118.948 mph) after having the quickest time in the first 45-minute session. Custer rounded out the top five (118.901 mph).
For the second consecutive practice Sadler was the slowest of the four Dash 4 Cash drivers, this time in 14th. 27 drivers made a run of at least 10 laps, with Gragson leading the way posting an average of 118.254 mph.
Qualifying for the ToyotaCare 250 is set to get underway at 4:05 p.m. ET. Hemric is the defending pole winner while Kyle Larson went onto pass Allgaier late in the race to pick up the win. The green flag is set to fly shortly after 7 p.m. ET.
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.