Almirola leads SHR 1-2 in opening Vegas practice

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Almirola leads SHR 1-2 in opening Vegas practice

NASCAR

Almirola leads SHR 1-2 in opening Vegas practice

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Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer paced opening NASCAR Cup Series practice at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday.

Almirola topped the charts at 178.654 mph (30.226 seconds) on his last lap of practice. Bowyer clocked in at 178.383 mph, also on his final lap of the session.

Completing the top five were Ty Dillon at 178.071 mph, Joey Logano at 178.042 mph, and Alex Bowman at 177.632 mph. Logano is the defending winner of the Pennzoil 400.

Sixth-fastest was Matt DiBenedetto at 177.491 mph with Kurt Busch seventh-fastest at 177.223 mph. Chase Elliott was eighth-fastest at 177.194 mph while Kyle Larson was ninth-fastest at 177.165 mph, and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top 10 at 176.980 mph.

Ross Chastain, driving the No. 6 Roush Fenway Ford Mustang for the injured Ryan Newman, was 18th fastest.

Rookie Tyler Reddick ran the most laps in practice with 38. He was 19th-fastest.

Six teams had to serve penalties during opening practice, which included five of the six Toyota teams. Brennan Poole was docked 15 minutes after his Premium Motorsports car failed inspection multiple times last weekend at Daytona.

Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Erik Jones and Christopher Bell were docked 15 minutes at the start of practice for their teams using body filler to change the OEM shape of the fender. Truex was 14th fastest with Busch 15th fastest. Jones clocked in 20th with Bell 27th.

Denny Hamlin was 25th fastest and missed 30 of the session’s 50 minutes. He, too, was docked 15 minutes at the start of practice for the body filler infraction. However, Hamlin was already going to lose 15 minutes at the end of the session because his car had failed inspection multiple times last weekend at Daytona.

NASCAR is not expected to hand down additional penalties.

UP NEXT: Final Cup Series practice at 7:30 p.m. ET.

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