Kyle Busch set the fastest time in Cup Series practice at Circuit of the Americas at 92.681 mph (132.455 seconds).
As is the norm this season, teams were split into two groups for practice, and Busch’s best lap from Group A was good enough to be fastest overall.
Daniel Suarez (from Group B) was second fastest at 92.602 mph. Alex Bowman was third at 92.557 mph, with Harrison Burton fourth at 94.436 mph, and Tyler Reddick fifth fastest at 94.433 mph.
Ross Chastain was sixth fastest at 94.422 mph, ahead of Ryan Blaney at 92.377 mph. AJ Allmendinger was eighth fastest at 92.346 mph, Cole Custer ninth at 92.331 mph, and Joey Logano was 10th fastest at 92.302 mph.
Defending race winner Chase Elliott was 30th fastest at 90.805 mph.
There were three incidents in practice that came when the first group was on track.
Blaney brought out a caution when he spun off Turn 10 and through the gravel into the tire barrier. His Team Penske Ford Mustang suffered minor body damage to the left side.
“I feel like it shocks you a little bit more when you get the curb,” Blaney said of the Next Gen car at COTA. “That’s how I spun, I hit the curb wrong in 10 wrong and it kind of shot me wrong one way and I overcorrected the other way.
“Luckily [I] got away with minimal damage. It’s kind of a big jump and [I] did the old overcorrect. Thankfully, I didn’t hit anything too hard.
“They’re a little bit different. This car I little is more harsh when you’re on the curbs, and we’re using up a little more of the curb with this car than we could last year. Especially in the esses and with the lack of some of them turtles. Got to be careful.”
Other incidents in the first group were for Kyle Busch and Joey Hand.
Busch spun after setting the fastest time. Fortunately, he didn’t hit anything, continuing in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
A right front tire blew on Joey Hand’s Ford and tore apart the fender. Hand will not post a qualifying lap as his Rick Ware Racing team gets to work on repairs.
“I was locking the left front up but the spotter was saying the right front was locking, which is weird even in the left-hand corners,” said Hand, who had the 14th fastest time overall.
“That’s probably what happened and I didn’t know it. There was a lot of smoke in the car, I’ll tell you that. … We’ve got to figure out why we’re locking brakes because it was doing it late in the turns.”
There are 39 drivers entered at COTA with the non-charter teams being Kaz Grala in the No.50 for The Money Team Racing, Boris Said in the No.66 for Motorsports Business Management, and Loris Hezemans in the No.27 for Team Hezeberg.
Hezemans will make his Cup Series debut Sunday afternoon.