Final Practice at Auto Club 400

Saturday, March 17 3:30 p.m. ET

50 minutes in length

Top-20 Speeds (one lap)

Pos Car Driver Make Laps Last Lap Best Time Best Speed Best Lap
1 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 45 174.732 38.779 185.668 1
2 78 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 41 175.374 38.852 185.319 1
3 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy 25 173.206 39.019 184.525 1
4 4 Kevin Harvick Ford 26 174.474 39.065 184.308 1
5 2 Brad Keselowski Ford 39 174.254 39.071 184.28 1
6 42 Kyle Larson Chevy 26 173.666 39.074 184.266 9
7 14 Clint Bowyer Ford 27 174.495 39.115 184.073 1
8 12 Ryan Blaney Ford 42 172.01 39.126 184.021 1
9 31 Ryan Newman Chevy 28 172.782 39.157 183.875 1
10 1 Jamie McMurray Chevy 37 171.416 39.231 183.528 1
11 88 Alex Bowman Chevy 18 179.502 39.265 183.369 1
12 22 Joey Logano Ford 34 171.907 39.27 183.346 1
13 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 34 174.668 39.308 183.169 1
14 3 Austin Dillon Chevy 27 174.774 39.334 183.048 12
15 41 Kurt Busch Ford 38 170.225 39.341 183.015 1
16 19 Daniel Suarez Toyota 38 172.587 39.35 182.973 1
17 10 Aric Almirola Ford 32 175.157 39.38 182.834 1
18 43 Darrell Wallace Jr. # Chevy 28 175.106 39.393 182.774 1
19 21 Paul Menard Ford 34 172.911 39.399 182.746 21
20 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 31 174.402 39.462 182.454 22

Best 10-lap Averages

Penalized Drivers

All penalties were 15-minutes in length and served at the end of practice

Chase Elliott

Aric Almirola

Denny Hamlin

Clint Bowyer

William Byron

Michael McDowell

AJ Allmendinger

Jimmie Johnson

Cole Whitt

Alex Bowman

Items of Note:

  • Track temperature and air temperature is up for the final practice compared to previous sessions and it’s the closest temps to what the race will be driven in
  • Martin Truex Jr. ran entirely on scuffs in the first practice on Saturday and have three sets of sticker tires to use in the final practice and work on fine tuning the car. They expect to have a competitive car on Sunday,
  • Brad Keselowski ran into the wall on the right side and dinged up the right rear fender
  • Kyle Larson had a tire go down with 38 minutes left in the session but was able to catch it before there was damage done to the car.
  • With 35 minutes left in practice Kyle Busch has the fastest individual lap, fastest 10-lap average, and fastest 15-lap average. He ran all scuffs in the first practice in the morning and the time difference is quite a big one. His best lap in both sessions are .8 seconds apart.
  • Clint Bowyer is continuing to turn in fast practice laps and is working on running a specific line that is high in turns 1&2 and down on the apron in the middle of turns 3&4.
  • Kurt Busch has been running high-line every lap during this happy hour session trying to work on balance
  • Jimmie Johnson is currently third in the best 15-lap average with 23 minutes left in practice, however Harvick hasn’t run more than six laps in this session.
  • Alex Bowman pulled the car into the garage and said the engine went flat. In an interview he said they felt something in the drive train they didn’t like. He believes he has a top-10 car this week. He is one of 11 drivers to serve a 15-minute penalty at the end of practice.
  • With 13 minutes left in practice, Kevin Harvick has the best five-lap and best 10-lap average with Kyle Larson second, and Austin Dillon leads the best 15-laps with Kyle Busch being second in that category
  • With 9 minutes left in practice Kyle Larson is getting loose trying to search for speed but he saved it and didn’t do damage to the car but was nearly up against the wall.
  • Martin Truex Jr. thinks his car is ok and that it’s going in the right direction and that the balance changes too much over a long run and he’s fifth on the best-15 lap average.
  • Kyle Busch said he feels ok about his car and his car slowed down as the practice went along and that other cars caught them as the session went on.

Second Practice for Auto Club 400

Saturday, March 17 12:35 p.m. ET

50 minutes in length

Top-20 Speeds (one lap)

Pos Car Driver Make Laps Last Lap Best Time Best Speed Best Lap
1 4 Kevin Harvick Ford 31 174.868 38.694 186.075 16
2 41 Kurt Busch Ford 24 171.625 39.039 184.431 10
3 9 Chase Elliott Chevy 22 172.208 39.126 184.021 5
4 42 Kyle Larson Chevy 29 175.567 39.15 183.908 18
5 12 Ryan Blaney Ford 19 173.578 39.16 183.861 5
6 2 Brad Keselowski Ford 24 173.314 39.22 183.58 11
7 47 AJ Allmendinger Chevy 16 174.702 39.236 183.505 1
8 22 Joey Logano Ford 20 172.236 39.242 183.477 1
9 88 Alex Bowman Chevy 21 173.498 39.314 183.141 7
10 14 Clint Bowyer Ford 25 173.787 39.316 183.132 1
11 10 Aric Almirola Ford 19 178.594 39.319 183.118 1
12 20 Erik Jones Toyota 30 173.867 39.332 183.057 1
13 31 Ryan Newman Chevy 17 177.397 39.336 183.038 1
14 95 Kasey Kahne Chevy 17 173.098 39.379 182.839 1
15 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 17 175.229 39.392 182.778 1
16 19 Daniel Suarez Toyota 17 65.275 39.396 182.76 2
17 78 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 16 173.938 39.397 182.755 1
18 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy 31 174.22 39.399 182.746 1
19 37 Chris Buescher Chevy 21 174.719 39.43 182.602 1
20 6 Trevor Bayne Ford 18 173.248 39.453 182.496 2

Best 10-lap Averages

Penalized Drivers

No drivers served penalites this session

Items of Note:

  • The start of practice was delayed for track drying to complete after overnight rains drenched the track
  • A lot of teams were working on pit road speed early in the session while the weepers in Turns 3 & 4 finished drying.
  • With 31 minutes left in practice, Kevin Harvick and Erik Jones are one-two in the five-lap average and 10-lap average speeds.
  • Kyle Larson was working on driving multiple lanes, high 1&2 and then low in 3&4 and he was sliding it through the corner in 4.
  • The RCR cars (Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman) historically float over the bumps on the backstretch better than most others on the track. However the 3-car midway through practice was bouncing quite a bit and not floating quite as much.
  • Denny Hamlin got loose coming out of Turn 2 as he got the back tires in a seam on the track and it wiggled quite a bit
  • With 15 minutes left many drivers switched to sticker tires and made a long run. Over 10 laps there is about a two-second fall off on lap times after sticker tires were put on.
  • Kyle Busch took over the lead in the 15-lap average speed with 10 minutes left in the session
  • This pit road is a hard one to get onto because of the speed carried through turns 3&4 and the sharp difference between banking and the flatness of pit road.
  • By the end of practice Kevin Harvick had the fastest lap, fastest five-lap average, fastest 10-lap average, and fastest 15-lap average as well.
  • Erik Jones was the fastest Toyota on the track in the second session ahead of his teammates at 15-17
  • 35 of 37 cars made at least one lap in the second session of practice
  • Martin Truex Jr used this practice just to shake down his car and make sure the balance is where he wants it to be. He feels they have a good car overall.
  • AJ Allmendinger got faster throughout practice but said his car was still tight in the front throughout the whole practice despite the changes helping overall    

Opening Practice Auto Club 400

Friday, March 16 2:35 p.m. ET

50 minutes in length

Top-20 Speeds (one lap)

Pos Car Driver Make Laps Last Lap Best Time Best Speed Best Lap
1 4 Kevin Harvick Ford 3 185.965 38.082 189.066 1
2 14 Clint Bowyer Ford 4 10.482 38.255 188.211 1
3 10 Aric Almirola Ford 5 187.936 38.311 187.936 5
4 31 Ryan Newman Chevy 6 187.798 38.339 187.798 6
5 42 Kyle Larson Chevy 8 186.268 38.35 187.744 1
6 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 14 187.32 38.437 187.32 14
7 78 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 5 186.62 38.438 187.315 3
8 20 Erik Jones Toyota 5 187.139 38.474 187.139 5
9 3 Austin Dillon Chevy 6 187.032 38.496 187.032 6
10 88 Alex Bowman Chevy 9 186.766 38.551 186.766 9
11 1 Jamie McMurray Chevy 5 186.737 38.557 186.737 5
12 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 5 185.104 38.566 186.693 1
13 41 Kurt Busch Ford 5 185.08 38.569 186.678 1
14 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy 7 184.805 38.616 186.451 3
15 9 Chase Elliott Chevy 5 184.388 38.63 186.384 1
16 37 Chris Buescher Chevy 6 8.016 38.642 186.326 5
17 22 Joey Logano Ford 10 185.893 38.732 185.893 10
18 43 Darrell Wallace Jr. # Chevy 7 182.329 38.743 185.84 1
19 21 Paul Menard Ford 5 185.567 38.8 185.567 5
20 2 Brad Keselowski Ford 5 184.252 38.84 185.376 3

Best 10-lap Averages

No one ran enough consecutive laps to have a 10-lap average

Penalized Drivers

Reed Sorenson (15 minutes at end of practice)

Items of Note:

  • There are new left side tires being used at the track this year and most teams believe they will help them from getting loose in the corner with more stability in the tire.
  • Majority of teams will be in qualifying trim only for this practice
  • Teams have four sets of sticker tires to work through in the session so that they can scuff each of them
  • The back straightaway is very bumpy and can throw off lines
  • Denny Hamlin, William Byron, and Joey Logano are the only three starting in race trim to see how the tires work over the length of a run. They will then switch to qualifying.
  • Kyle Larson ran four laps in race trim and then pulled it to the garage to switch to qualifying trim. His race trim lap was within .2 seconds of a lap record.
  • Kevin Harvick ran an unofficial track record lap in qualifying trim with 35 minutes left in the session.
  • Daniel Suarez got very loose in the turn and the back right of the car slid into the wall and got heavy damage on the right side. He was in qualifying trim making his second run. Suarez will have to go to a backup car and will start at the back of the field no matter where he qualifies.
  • With 26 minutes left in the session, all four SHR cars are in the top-six laps with Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer being 1-2.