Blaney, Jones top first Bristol practice as Harvick hits wall

Blaney, Jones top first Bristol practice as Harvick hits wall

Cup Series

Blaney, Jones top first Bristol practice as Harvick hits wall

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Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones set the pace in the opening practice session at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The 55-minute session is the only one scheduled for Friday, and the two were tied atop the chart with the same 129.877mph lap. Kurt Busch was third fastest at 129.657mph.

Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson completed the top five. Busch ran 129.456mph with Larson’s best lap at 129.299mph.

The rest of the top 10 were Denny Hamlin (129.282mph), Alex Bowman (129.134mph), Brad Keselowski (129.004mph) – who missed the start of the session – David Ragan (128.995mph) and Martin Truex Jr. (128.926mph).

Defending race winner Jimmie Johnson ended the session 14th on the speed chart. His fastest lap was 128.236 mph.

There were two incidents during the session that brought out the red flag.

AJ Allmendinger went for a spin in Turn 1 during the session, slightly damaging the rear of his No. 47 Chevrolet. JTG-Daugherty will repair the No. 47 for the remainder of the weekend.

Less than five minutes after Allmendinger’s spin, Kevin Harvick slammed the Turn 3 wall. The No. 4 Ford was heavily damaged when something appeared to break as he entered the corner and Stewart-Haas Racing wasted no time pulling out the backup car.

“Something obviously either came off or broke in the front suspension,” said Harvick. “It looks more like the right front, to tell you the truth. It definitely wasn’t a tire failure or anything like that, but just going in the corner as soon as I let off the gas it just hung a right, so it’s unfortunate for our Busch Beer/Jimmy John’s Ford. But we’ll get another one out and do it again.”

Harvick was evaluated and released from the infield care center and will start at the rear of the field Sunday afternoon regardless of where he qualifies.

NEXT UP: Qualifying at 4:45 p.m. ET.

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