By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
CONCORD, N.C. – During a weekend of firsts for the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Austin Cindric and Cole Custer paced the first two practice sessions on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. The two practice sessions were eventful as most incidents resulted in local yellows.
Brendan Gaughan was the first driver to hit the track for the first practice for the Drive for the Cure 200. The session came to a quick stop after Spencer Gallagher backed into the wall. The damage was severe, and the team pulled out a back-up, still wrapped with Bill Elliott’s Road America paint scheme.
After the first two-hour practice, Cindric’s No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang sat on top of the speed charts with a 102.663 mph, 79.998 second lap. Fellow Playoff driver Daniel Hemric was second, 0.873 seconds behind Cindric. Ryan Truex, Ryan Preece, and road course ringer Justin Marks rounded out the top-five.
Matt Tifft, Elliott Sadler, Gaughan, Justin Allgaier, and Rookie of the Year contender Alex Labbe completing the Top-10. Other notables included Tyler Reddick, 11th, Custer, 12th, Christopher Bell, 14th, Ryan Reed, 16th, Brandon Jones, 21st, and Ross Chastain, 25th of the 27 drivers that took part in the first session.
In the second session, that was shortened by about 20 minutes due to weather, Custer topped the charts with a blistering 103.223 mph, 79.517 second lap on the 17-turn, 2.28-Mile oval-road course hybrid. Cindric was second, 0.253 seconds behind with Reddick third. Hemric and Allgaier rounded out the top-five.
Sadler, Truex, Ty Majeski, Preece, and Marks rounded out the Top-10 for the second session. Other notables included Bell, 12th, Tifft, 14th, Reed, 15th, Chastain 17th, and Jones in 22nd of the 30 drivers that took time in the session.
Jones crashed towards the end of the session, the extent of the damage is still unclear.
Between the two sessions, only six drivers made 10 consecutive laps. Allgaier had the fastest 10-lap average, 102.034 mph average. Cindric had the second fastest average, followed by Reddick, Michael Annett, Reed, and Ryan Sieg.