Chastain leads Cup practice on Friday, details

AVONDALE. AZ — Ross Chastain ended up on top when it was all said and done after Fridays final and only NASCAR Cup Series practice session from Phoenix Raceway, the site of this weekend’s championship deciding race.

Chastain’s No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet turned a lap of 133.239 mph to pace the field in the 50-minute session.

Ryan Blaney’s No. 12 Team Penske Ford and Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota were next fastest with Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick rounding out the top five.

Team Penske’s Joey Logano was second fastest among the four championship eligible drivers, turning in the seventh quickest lap in his No. 22 Ford. Chase Elliott, who won the series championship at Phoenix two years ago, was 10th quickest in the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, was 20th quickest.

However, Chastain had the best short speed, Chase Elliott meanwhile had a better car on longer run pace.

Elliott was 10th on single lap, 11th on 5-lap, 4th on 10-lap and 2nd on 15-lap averages. Logano and second best among the Championship 4 members on those metric while Bell was a distant fourth.

In saying that, there’s a couple of factors here. One was that this session was run during sunset and even under the lights conditions to where there’s far more grip and less natural fall off. Sundays temps will be hotter.

The other is that it’s hard to find the right long run vs short run speed. The first couple of stages are always long in runs with few cautions. The ending however can feature a late race restart so it’s one you have to have to right balance of both.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s