O’Reilly Auto Parts 500


Ryan Blaney apparently solved the riddle of Texas Motor Speedway’s repaved and re-profiled 1.5-mile oval Friday, posting the fastest lap of an extended 2-hour, 25-minute Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice.

Blaney, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford Fusion fielded by the Wood Brothers, posted a hot lap in 27.809-seconds and 194.182 mph to lead a list of 40 competitors. Blaney’s best lap was recorded on the 28th of the 29 he ran around an oval that was repaved during the offseason for the first time since 2001. In addition, Turns 1 and 2 were re-profiled from 24 degrees of banking to 20 degrees. However, Turns 3 and 4 have retained their traditional 24-degree banking.

Michael McDowell was second-quick at 27.827-seconds at 194.056 mph in his No. 95 WRL General Contractors Chevrolet SS. McDowell posted his best time and speed on his 27th and final lap.

Native Texan Chris Buescher rounded out the top-three at 27.927-seconds and 193.361 mph in his No. 37 Scott Products Chevy SS.

Rookie Erik Jones was fourth-quick at 27.957-seconds and 193.154 mph before crashing his No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota Camry. Jones, who slammed into the frontstretch Safer Barrier after losing traction exiting Turn 4, will be forced into his backup car for qualifying at 5:15 p.m. (CDT) Friday.

Seven-time/reigning Cup champion Jimmie Johnson was 14th after lapping at 191.884 mph in the No 48 Lowe’s Chevy SS. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, was 15th at 191.666 mph in the No. 88 Axalta Chevy SS.

Kyle Busch, who won this event last spring, was 19th after lapping at 191.103 mph in his No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota. Busch brushed the wall exiting Turn 2 with approximately 45 minutes remaining in the session but will continue with his repaired primary car.

Brad Keselowski, the only two-time winner in the series this season, stood 21st after a lap at 190.712 mph in the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion.

About the author

The Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations Department is located on the 6th floor of The Speedway Club outside of Turn 1 of the speedway. 

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