Jamie McMurray set the track on fire during the 1st practice round at Talladega Superspeedway today in preparation for Sunday’s Geico 500, completing a lap in 47.943 seconds (199.737 mph). Next fasted was rookie Chase Elliott, who is making his first start in a Cup car at Talladega, at 199.729 mph. Meanwhile , Stewart Haas teammates Kurt Busch and Fanica Patrick had the next fastest lap at199.409 mph and 199.384 mph. (respectively) followed by Trevor Bayne at199.317 mph. Although Bayne was pleased with his performance, he did not that his floorboard was “scalding hot” after the 55 minute session.
“I haven’t had that issue for a long time in a super speedway car,” he noted. “I know other guys have complained about it a lot last year, but this is the first time it’s been burning me.”
Filling out the list for top-10 times posted for single lap speeds during the 55-minute session were Kevin Harvick, 6th at 199.288 mph; Casey Mears, 199.251 mph; Joey Logano, 199.247 mph; and Michael McDowell who came in at 199,193 mph., behind Kyle Larson 199.243 mph. Larson was also fastest in the Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average with a speed of 195.541 mph, while. Logano was 2nd quick (195.169 mph) followed by Harvick, Bayne and Denny Hamlin.
Although McMurray only ran 16 laps during the session, Ty Dillon completed 29 laps in the No. 14 Chevy for Stewart-Haas Racing, but was 29th in single lap speeds. However, he was more than comfortable with the way his the No. 14 Chevy for Stewart-Haas Racing handled.
Meanwhile, with weather predictions calling for possible heavy rain leading up to the race, NASCAR confirmed that under rule 126.96.36.199, which covers time trials other than the Daytona 500, “when qualifying has not been completed but one or more practices have occurred…the following will be utilized to assign starting grid positions:” Charter Teams will be assigned the first available starting grid positions based on the then-current calendar year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Team Owner Championship point standings in descending order. In addition, the next available starting grid positions will be assigned to the eligible Open Teams based on their fastest single lap speed posted from the combined Practice session(s) prior to Qualifying, in descending order.