By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Last week, he won his first stage, this week, Brandon Jones tops the charts in the first NASCAR Xfinity Series practice. Jones ran a 15.495 second, 123.833 mph lap in his No. 19 Menards / Turtle Wax Toyota Camry. He outran Justin Allgaier by 0.040 seconds in the first practice for the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300.
Ryan Preece was third fastest overall and the fastest amongst the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash drivers. This is his only chance at winning the Dash 4 Cash as Noah Gragson will drive the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota Camry next weekend at Richmond Raceway. Preece’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Christopher Bell was fourth fastest, and second for Dash 4 Cash drivers. Team Penske’s Austin Cindric rounded out the top-five in practice.
The other Dash 4 Cash drivers, Cole Custer and Daniel Hemric were sixth and eighth fastest respectively.
The two drivers making their NASCAR Xfinity Series debuts had very different practice sessions. Shane Lee was 15thfastest in the No. 3 Childress Vineyards Chevrolet Camaro SS. Lee made 72 laps around the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile” in preparation for his first Xfinity Series start.
Meanwhile, JGL Racing’s Tony Mrakovich broke loose after venturing out of the “Bristol Bite” traction compound. Mrakovich’s No. 28 Smart Emissions Reducer Ford Mustang slid into the outside wall, making significant contact with the right-rear quarter panel. As a result, the rookie made just two laps in the session, ending up 36th, just over four seconds off the pace. It is unclear if JGL Racing will elect to go to a back-up car.
With Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers barred from competing in the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash events, different faces are expected to be competing for both the victory and the ability to compete for the Dash 4 Cash at Richmond Raceway.