By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor
In preparation for tomorrow night’s running of the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers took to the track for their first of two practice sessions on Friday morning, with Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch leading the way.
It has been an eventful week for Hamlin thus far as he welcomed his second daughter into the world Tuesday before heading to Bristol for the race weekend, where he was victorious in the night race back in 2012.
In addition, Hamlin has scored six top-five finishes, 11 top-10 finishes, three poles, 607 laps led, and an average finish of 15.9 in 23 starts.
Both Hamlin and Busch were the only drivers to eclipse the 129-mph mark, posting laps of 129.230 mph and 129.221, mph, respectively.
Following the two JGR teammates was Kasey Kahne, Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex, Jr., Erik Jones, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., and Jimmie Johnson to round out the top-10.
Other notables included Chase Elliott in 11th, Kyle Larson in 16th, Brad Keselowski in 17th, defending night race winner Kevin Harvick in 18th, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in 27th, and Joey Logano in 30th.
The hour and 25-minute session was relatively uneventful, aside from a short stoppage for rain and a spin by Kyle Larson. Larson would escape without damage to his car and continued on for the remainder of practice.
Next up for the Cup Series is final practice, which will take place at 12:30 pm ET, followed up by qualifying at 5:45 pm ET.
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