Defending Coca-Cola 600 winner Kyle Larson will not make a qualifying lap Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway after hitting the wall in practice.
The No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet got away from Larson on the entry to Turn 1. Larson damaged the right rear and scrubbed the lettering off the tires. Early reports are that Larson’s team plans on repairing his primary car.
Larson, who was among the first group of drivers to hit the track for practice, wound up fastest overall. His best lap — before hitting the wall – was 182.500 mph (29.589 seconds).
And Larson wasn’t the only incident in practice. Corey LaJoie crashed in Turn 2 early in the session. LaJoie will need a backup car after suffering heavy damage to the left side of his car after it spun around because of a flat left-rear tire.
“The left rear went down and there’s a lot of juice there to be had in terms of speed (and) guys are working on it and you see a lot of left rears down,” LaJoie said. “I don’t know if we pushed it a little bit too hard but it hurt a lot more than what it looks like on camera, I can assure you of that.
“I’m sure my Spire [Motorsports] guys will get this USO Chevy Camaro juiced back up for Sunday and 600 miles. We’ll get that backup car dialed in and be ready to rock.”
Ryan Preece, in the second group of drivers for practice, spun in Turns 3 and 4 but did not hit anything. Kaz Grala had the hood of his Chevrolet fly up but he made it back to pit road without further issue.
Meanwhile, Larson’s teammate Alex Bowman was second fastest in practice at 182.205 mph. Ross Chastain was third fastest at 181.800 mph.
Completing the top five in practice was Austin Cindric at 181.788 mph and Martin Truex Jr. at 181.635 mph.
Kyle Busch was sixth fastest at 181.494 mph and Denny Hamlin was seventh fastest at 181.464 mph. Daniel Suarez was eighth fastest at 181.196 mph and Ryan Blaney was ninth fastest at 180.923 mph. Rounding out the top 10 was Joey Logano at 180.886 mph.
Blaney and rookie Harrison Burton ran the most laps in practice at 25 each.
Truex was the fastest in the best 10 consecutive lap average over Blaney and Christopher Bell.