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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Denny Hamlin, Matt DiBenedetto Lead Cup Practices at Bristol

With the regular season winding down, Denny Hamlin and Matt DiBenedetto continued their recent hot streaks in Friday’s (Aug. 16) practice sessions at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Opening Practice

Hamlin laid down a lap of 128.605 mph to top the scoring pylon. He was one of four Toyotas inside the top five, with Erik Jones his closest competitor in second (128.150 mph).

Joey Logano was the lone Ford in the top five in third (127.851 mph), with Matt DiBenedetto (127.647 mph) and Kyle Busch (127.596 mph) rounded out the top five.

The Team Penske teammates of Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski were sixth and seventh, as Martin Truex Jr., Alex Bowman and Kyle Larson fill the top 10.

Out of the four drivers racing near the playoff bubble, Jimmie Johnson was quickest st 11th, while Ryan Newman was mired back in 23rd.

Despite being 25th on single-lap speed, Aric Almirola ran 79 laps, by far the most in the opening session. Logano was quickest in terms of 10-lap averages at 126.742 mph.

Full results from opening practice at Bristol

Final Practice 

After announcing he won’t be returning to Leavine Family Racing in 2020, DiBenedetto led the charge in final practice at Bristol, setting an early hot lap of 128.847 mph.

Blaney, scored second the board, had smoke billowing from his No. 12 car late in the session, believing it was the power steering pump. The No. 12 Ford was a time of 128.244 mph.

Almirola ran the third quickest lap (128.227 mph), as Chase Elliott (128.219 mph) and Bowman (128.167 mph) rounded out the top five.

A pair of dirt track drivers in Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were scored sixth and seventh, respectively. Truex, Austin Dillon and Newman completed the top 10.

Mired down in 13th on the leaderboard, Logano turned 116 laps, by far the most in the session. Keselowski ranked second with 105.

Out of the 32 drivers to make a run of at least consecutive laps, Blaney led the way at 125.660 mph.

Full results from final practice at Bristol 

Qualifying for Saturday’s (Aug. 17) Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race is scheduled to begin at 5:45 p.m. ET. Larson is the defending pole winner.

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