By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
BRISTOL, Tenn. – The speed of Ford Performance continues as Ryan Blaney paces the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice session for the Food City 500. Blaney ran a 14.774 second, 129.827 mph lap in his No. 12 REV Ford Fusion at Bristol Motor Speedway. He narrowly edged out Erik Jones to win the first practice as the duo ran nearly identical lap times.
The 2003 and 2004 summer race winner, Kurt Busch, was third fastest with his brother, and most recent Premier Series winner, Kyle Busch fourth fastest. Kyle Larson rounded out the top five.
Practice was not without incidents however. AJ Allmendinger’s No. 47 Kroger Click List Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 broke loose entering turn three. He tagged the wall with the right-rear quarter panel before spinning down the track. Allmendinger’s JTG-Daughtery Racing team elected not to go to a back-up car following the incident. The team did retrieve a part from the back-up car to repair the primary.
“Yeah, spun out and is going to make the rest of our weekend a pretty rough weekend,” Allmendinger said.
Kevin Harvick also found trouble in his No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion. Entering turn one, a suspension piece failed, causing his car to bolt straight into the wall. Harvick made significant contact, forcing his Stewart-Haas Racing team to a back-up car.
“Something obviously either came off or broke in the front suspension,” Harvick explained. “It looks more like the right-front, to tell you the truth. It definitely wasn’t a tire failure or anything like that, but just going in the corner as soon as I let off the gas it just hung a right, so it’s unfortunate for our Busch Beer/Jimmy John’s Ford, but we’ll get another one out and do it again.”
This was the only practice prior to Busch Pole qualifying. Because Harvick is going to a back-up car, he will be forced to start from the rear of the field in the Food City 500 on Sunday.