Alex Bowman admits that Watkins Glen isn’t one of his better racetracks, but Bowman put his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at the top of the leaderboard in first practice Saturday morning.
Bowman jumped to the top of the board on a mock qualifying run at 125.888 mph (1m10.062s). He took the top spot from Kyle Busch who had run a 125.786 mph lap.
Completing the top five were Denny Hamlin at 125.643 mph, Chase Elliott at 125.623 mph, and Kyle Larson at 125.568 mph. Elliott is the defending race winner at Watkins Glen, scoring his first career NASCAR Cup Series win one year.
Ryan Blaney was sixth quick at 125.204 mph followed by Martin Truex Jr. at 124.869 mph, Brad Keselowski at 124.758 mph, Erik Jones at 124.754 mph, and Joey Logano at 124.578 mph.
There were no major incidents in practice, although Matt Tifft brought out a brief caution less than nine minutes into practice when he spun off Turn 5. Tifft got his Front Row Motorsports Ford under control to avoid any contact and escaped without any of his fellow competitors hitting him…just!
Matt DiBenedetto suffered a flat tire, but was able to limp his Leavine Family Racing car back to pit road. And Darrell Wallace Jr. only completed three laps in practice as his Richard Petty Motorsports team worked on a mechanical issue with the car.
UP NEXT: Final practice at 1:05 p.m. ET.