By Toby Christie, NASCAR Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas — Nine drivers were unable to take a qualifying lap on Friday for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. All nine were stuck in the technical inspection line after failing on their first pass through. Among the nine drivers were some really big names like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Erik Jones, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne.
Saturday morning, those drivers got their first shot to prove how fast their cars really are, and spoiler alert some of them are very fast.
Larson trailed only Brad Keselowski, as the driver of the No. 42 Credit One Chevrolet SS was the second-fastest driver in the morning session. Larson’s fast lap 196.093 mph. Earnhardt Jr., once again driving the ultra-bright Flash Point Axalta paint scheme, was fourth fastest in the session, and Elliott was the fifth fastest in his No. 24 NAPA Chevrolet.
Single lap speed doesn’t mean much as far as results in the actual race, rather the more important metric in practice is 10-lap consecutive speeds. In that category, Elliott was second-best, while Busch, Larson and Earnhardt were fourth, fifth and sixth best over a 10-lap run in practice.
There is still one last practice session for teams to tune their cars for Sunday’s race, but for now it appears as though there will be a lot of quick cars knifing their way through the field at Texas Motor Speedway. It should lead to a lot of dramatic moments over the 500-mile event at the track which was resurfaced and re-profiled over the offseason.