Final Practice for Bojangles Southern 500

Darlington Raceway

Friday, August 31st 4:05 pm ET

50 minutes in length

Weather

Nearly 100 degrees outside which is warmer than much of the race will be since it’s a night race on Sunday.

Penalized Drivers

No driver served a penalty this practice

Top-20 Speeds (one lap)

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE LAPS LAST LAP BEST TIME BEST SPEED BEST LAP
1 31 Ryan Newman Chevy 43 158.362 28.641 171.698 1
2 9 Chase Elliott Chevy 38 160.569 28.672 171.512 1
3 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy 35 158.591 28.754 171.023 1
4 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 46 158.889 28.771 170.922 1
5 41 Kurt Busch Ford 33 160.601 28.865 170.365 1
6 6 Matt Kenseth Ford 26 160.864 28.92 170.041 1
7 95 Kasey Kahne Chevy 32 161.768 28.949 169.871 1
8 14 Clint Bowyer Ford 35 160.528 28.961 169.801 1
9 12 Ryan Blaney Ford 43 159.626 28.967 169.766 1
10 88 Alex Bowman Chevy 42 160.921 29.014 169.491 1
11 10 Aric Almirola Ford 24 159.012 29.066 169.187 1
12 22 Joey Logano Ford 62 156.477 29.103 168.972 1
13 4 Kevin Harvick Ford 49 153.297 29.11 168.932 2
14 20 Erik Jones Toyota 45 157.479 29.136 168.781 2
15 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 52 158.087 29.172 168.573 2
16 2 Brad Keselowski Ford 42 158.469 29.174 168.561 1
17 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 23 162.313 29.244 168.158 17
18 21 Paul Menard Ford 43 159.388 29.298 167.848 2
19 3 Austin Dillon Chevy 34 162.598 29.3 167.836 29
20 24 William Byron # Chevy 43 158.005 29.31 167.779 2

 

Best Lap Averages

 

Items of Note:

  • The middle of turns 1 & 2 is almost like a straightaway in that they can get back in the throttle nearly wide open before finding the second apex of the corner and getting on the brake a bit.
  • This track might be the most physically demanding on the schedule because of the surface of the track and the work needed to steer the car around the egg-shaped track with a different track throughout each of the two sets of corners.
  • Early in practice Daniel Suarez made a five-lap run and lost .5 seconds between the first and fifth lap showing just how bad the track eats tires.
  • Ryan Newman has the fastest lap run in the early part of practice in a must win weekend after posting four top-10s in the last five races here and RCR feels like they are bringing their A-game these last couple of weeks.
  • More drivers are running race trim this session than the first session
  • With 30 minutes left in practice Aric Almirola brushed the fence coming out of Turn 2 and brought it to the garage to check for damage.
  • Kevin Harvick is running a higher lane through Turns 1 & 2 in this session than the first session but his running a similar line down on the apron in Turns 3 & 4 to the first session.
  • With 20 minutes left in practice Jamie McMurray was able to get back on the track after having his engine replaced after it blew in just one lap in the first practice.
  • Kyle Larson had planned on making three long race runs this session but he only get 20+ laps because of adjustments needed on the car due to being loose.
  • Bubba Wallace missed the entrance into pit road at the end of practice and Jimmie Johnson almost missed it as well because it’s a blind entrance coming off of Turn 4.
  • Three of the four Hendrick Motor Sports cars finished inside the top-10 for average lap speed across the full session. The only one that missed was William Byron.

 

Bojangles Southern 500 Opening Practice

Darlington Raceway

Friday, August 31st 2:05 pm ET

50 minutes in length

Weather

It’s going to be very hot all weekend which will make the track slicker

Penalized Drivers

Austin Dillon (30 minutes at the end of practice)

Top-20 Speeds (one lap)

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE LAPS LAST LAP BEST TIME BEST SPEED BEST LAP
1 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 18 170.425 28.543 172.287 2
2 42 Kyle Larson Chevy 11 171.196 28.585 172.034 9
3 2 Brad Keselowski Ford 21 159.828 28.591 171.998 1
4 88 Alex Bowman Chevy 23 169.608 28.594 171.98 2
5 31 Ryan Newman Chevy 28 160.078 28.603 171.926 2
6 20 Erik Jones Toyota 26 171.405 28.611 171.878 1
7 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy 21 170.626 28.633 171.746 3
8 12 Ryan Blaney Ford 23 160.722 28.64 171.704 3
9 10 Aric Almirola Ford 21 159.502 28.666 171.548 1
10 21 Paul Menard Ford 22 169.479 28.72 171.226 2
11 95 Kasey Kahne Chevy 23 159.445 28.751 171.041 2
12 24 William Byron # Chevy 23 170.094 28.795 170.78 1
13 19 Daniel Suarez Toyota 17 170.649 28.817 170.649 17
14 43 Bubba Wallace # Chevy 17 157.656 28.849 170.46 2
15 78 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 16 163.24 28.853 170.436 2
16 22 Joey Logano Ford 24 160.685 28.881 170.271 2
17 41 Kurt Busch Ford 18 160.764 28.897 170.177 3
18 9 Chase Elliott Chevy 19 161.259 28.919 170.047 1
19 14 Clint Bowyer Ford 24 160.287 28.943 169.906 2
20 4 Kevin Harvick Ford 23 161.577 28.95 169.865 2
21 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 22 160.188 28.977 169.707 3

 

Best Lap Averages

 

Items of Note:

  • Only four sets of tires for the two hours of practice time total. This track eats up tires like Atlanta and Auto Club and Chicago.
  • Jamie McMurray had a big time fluid leak with 40 minutes left in practice and stopped it on the front stretch and the car was towed to the garage.
  • A lot of cars are making short runs to start the first practice
  • The pit road entrance at Darlington is one of the hardest to get to with how early you have to plan for it in the corner. Green flag pit stops with entry and speed and taking tires every time will be pivotal to who wins the race.
  • Kevin Harvick is running a lower line than pretty much anyone else on the track as he is not close to the wall in the corners unlike nearly everyone else.
  • The throwback scheme this week is the 90s and early 2000s
  • Denny Hamlin has been able to hold the fastest lap for most of practice and is the only one to crack an average of 172 mph for a lap.
  • Ryan Newman has an average finish of 11.7 at Darlington in his career, the best average finish of any track on the schedule.
  • Erik Jones spun out trying to get to pit road with 10 minutes left in practice but didn’t appear to do damage to it.
  • Late in practice Kyle Larson cracked the 172 mph mark for a lap but he and Denny were the only two to do that.
  • Kurt Busch said his car was getting sloppy and sideways late in the session and that it needed to be tightened up even though he was running 16th.
  • Ty Dillon was pretty happy with his car after a few adjustments in between runs and would up showing solid speed while nailing down the grip and handling in all four turns.
  • Jamie McMurray wound up blowing an engine, it wasn’t just an oil leak, and with the change in engine he will have to start from the rear but be scored based on where he qualifies for the race.