Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images

Blaney Leads Group of Surprise Fast Drivers In Saturday Morning Practice

By Toby Christie, NASCAR Editor

FORT WORTH, Texas — Usually with three races remaining in the season, the remaining Chase drivers dominate every practice session, every qualifying round and every race. In Saturday morning’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice for the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway though, Ryan Blaney led a slew of unexpected drivers who topped the speed charts.

Blaney turned a lap of 188.515 mph, and he was followed by AJ Allmendinger, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Casey Mears and Paul Menard.

The fastest single lap any Chase competitor turned was by Joey Logano at 187.026 mph, which was good enough for ninth-fastest in the session.

Although the Chase drivers didn’t show a ton of one-lap speed in the session, they did seem to find speed over a long run. When you factor in 10-lap consecutive averages, four Chase competitors found themselves inside the top-10. Carl Edwards, who needs a win if he wants to advance to Homestead, had the best 10-lap consecutive average of anyone in the field.

Kyle Busch was fourth, Jimmie Johnson was ninth and Matt Kenseth was 10th in the 10-lap consecutive averages.

Here are where the Chase competitors ranked in Saturday Morning’s practice:

9. Joey Logano
16. Jimmie Johnson
22. Carl Edwards
24. Matt Kenseth
29. Kurt Busch
30. Kevin Harvick
33. Denny Hamlin

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Toby Christie is a contributing writer for Motorsports Tribune. He has been watching stock cars turn left since 1993, and has covered NASCAR as an accredited media member since 2007. Toby is a proud member of the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA). Additionally, Toby is a lifelong Miami Dolphins fan, sub-par guitarist and he is pretty good around a mini-golf course.

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