Richard Childress Racing’s Daniel Hemric turned up the wick late in the opening Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice session Thursday (May 23) at Charlotte Motor Speedway. With just a few minutes remaining in the session, Hemric turned in a lap at 182.790 mph to lead all comers.
Hemric’s lap was seven hundredths of a second faster than Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott. Teammate William Byron was third quickest, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch. Jimmie Johnson was fifth, making for three Hendrick Chevrolets in the top five.
There were no incidents during the session, but there were moments where handling issues came into play. Ryan Blaney‘s car had issues with bottoming out and getting loose in turns 3 and 4. Blaney ended up 17th quickest.
Teams were generally focused on qualifying trim but were also cognizant of track conditions. Qualifying will take place in cooler weather, so many teams chose to limit their participation in the session.
One team, StarCom Racing, chose to scoff at that notion. Landon Cassill completed 37 laps during the 55-minute session, more than three times as many as anyone else. As a result, he was the only driver in the session to complete a 10-lap run. Despite all this extra track time, Cassill ended up only 31st fastest.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams will be on track next for qualifying. That will take place Thursday night at 7 p.m. and will air live on FOX Sports 1.