Kurt Busch and three-time Kentucky winner Brad Keselowski topped the two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice sessions on Friday (July 12), ahead of Saturday’s Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart at Kentucky Speedway.
It wasn’t until the final minute of the session when Busch turned his quickest lap in the practice at 183.742 mph, .032 seconds ahead of Aric Almirola (183.542 mph) in second.
Kyle Larson, Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top 10. Martin Truex Jr., who hasn’t lost a stage at Kentucky since stage racing came into play in 2017 was mired back in 18th on single-lap speed.
Despite being 14th on one-lap speed, Chase Elliott was the only driver in the session to run more than 50 laps (51). The No. 9 Chevrolet had a fast lap of 181.165 mph, just ahead of Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron.
Denny Hamlin led the field in best 10-lap average at 181.131 mph. 18 drivers made a run of at least 10 laps.
Putting down an early speed of 182.303 mph, Keselowski led the charge in final practice, .083 seconds ahead of Harvick (181.793 mph). Those were two of the four Fords that had speeds inside the top five.
Hamlin was the lone Toyota inside the top five (181.763 mph), ahead of Ryan Blaney (181.701 mph) and Bowyer (181.457 mph).
Elliott, Jones, Suarez, Larson and Kyle Busch filled the top 10. Every driver in the field ran more than 20 laps in the session with the exception of Bayley Currey in the No. 51. His Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet was 30th on single-lap speed.
Suarez led the way in 10-lap averages at 180.697 mph. 26 teams elected to make a run of at least 10 consecutive laps.
Qualifying is set to get underway at 6:05 p.m. ET. Truex won the pole last year, leading 174 of 267 laps in the race.