Hamlin tops opening practice at Talladega

Image by Thacker/LAT

Hamlin tops opening practice at Talladega


Hamlin tops opening practice at Talladega


Denny Hamlin (P) was the fastest in the first of two Friday practices at Talladega Superspeedway at 204.904 mph (46.734s).

Hamlin was the only driver to crack the 204-mph mark. Of the 40 drivers who participated in practice, 33 ran over 200 mph.

Behind Hamlin was Kevin Harvick (P) at 203.688 mph, along with Kyle Busch (P) at 203.684 mph. Completing the top five were Corey LaJoie at 203.407 mph and Michael McDowell at 203.386 mph.

Six additional non-playoff drivers rounded out the top 10. Sixth quick was Erik Jones at 203.286 mph, followed by Ross Chastain at 203.213 mph. Brendan Gaughan was eighth quick at 202.993 mph with Chris Buescher ninth at 202.976 mph and Matt DiBenedetto at 202.851 mph.

Practice was halted for a brief debris caution. There were no other incidents.

Defending race winner Aric Almirola was 21st in practice, with a fast lap of 201.868 mph.

The rest of the playoff drivers were Kyle Larson 14th at 202.410 mph, Joey Logano 15th at 202.294 mph, Ryan Blaney 17th at 202.222 mph, Brad Keselowski 22nd at 201.846 mph, Clint Bowyer 23rd at 201.834 mph, Martin Truex Jr. 25th at 201.647 mph, Chase Elliott 26th at 201.638 mph, Alex Bowman 28th at 201.592 mph, and William Byron 30th at 201.549 mph.

UP NEXT: Final practice at 4:35 p.m. ET.