(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Denny Hamlin Leads Final Cup Practice in Texas

Denny Hamlin led a thrilling final practice at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday morning (March 30) with a 186.987 mph lap. Rainy conditions canceled the first of two scheduled sessions, giving teams just a single shot at the track in temperatures that are more than 20 degrees cooler than they were Friday.

Hamlin was followed by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch. Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney was third-quickest, followed by Kurt Busch. Jimmie Johnson, who led first practice and all three round of qualifying on Friday rounded out the top five.

Rookie Daniel Hemric ended up seventh on the charts, followed by Kyle Larson. Paul Menard, Kevin Harvick and Bubba Wallace rounded out the top 10.

The latter parts of the session featured multiple groups drafting laps together.

Thirty-two of 39 cars turned at least 10 consecutive laps with Johnson leading the way with an average speed of 184.366 mph. He was followed by Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Kurt Busch ad Kyle Larson. Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Blaney rounded out the top five.

Just a single caution slowed the session when fluid was reported on the track. It’s possible that fluid came from Alex Bowman, who suffered power steering issues that needed addressing by his team.

The O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 will run Sunday afternoon (March 31) at 3 p.m. ET. Jimmie Johnson will lead the field to the green flag.


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About Beth Lunkenheimer

Beth Lunkenheimer
Content Director Beth heads up management of our 30-person staff, acting as Tom’s main assistant with technology and personnel while working as Frontstretch’s Truck Series expert. The author of Truckin’ Thursdays and the coordinator of the site’s pre and post-race coverage, she also runs a periodic charity column that spotlights when NASCAR gives back. A childhood transplant to Texas, Beth is a 15-year writing veteran who has contributed content to BRANDT and Athlon Sports, among other outlets.

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