today is Jun 08, 2023

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Austin Cindric was fastest in Cup Series practice at Darlington Raceway with a lap of 167.271mph (29.399s) Saturday morning.

Joey Logano was second fastest at 166.518mph and Denny Hamlin was third quickest at 166.450mph. Ross Chastain was fourth at 165.659mph and Tyler Reddick completed the top five at 165.609mph.

Logano ran the most laps in practice – 32. He was also the fastest in the best 10 consecutive lap average.

Kyle Busch was sixth at 165.398mph, Chase Elliott seventh at 165.342mph, Daniel Suarez  eighth at 165.264mph, Kyle Larson ninth at 165.159mph, and Ty Dillon rounded out the top 10 at 164.992mph.

Defending race winner Martin Truex Jr. was 32nd on the speed chart. Truex’s best lap was 163.381mph.

It turned out to be an eventful practice session, particularly for Elliot. There were four incidents between the two groups.

Kevin Harvick had a flat left rear tire and had to limp his Ford back to pit road. In the process, the diffuser on the rear of the car was damaged, requiring Harvick to go to the garage for it to be replaced. As a result, Harvick will not be permitted to make a qualifying lap as teams cannot return to the track once they go to the garage.

Corey LaJoie spun in the last minute of practice for the first group of drivers. LaJoie brushed the wall with the right rear and did a complete spin off Turn 4 before driving away.

In the second group of drivers, Elliott had a left rear tire go down entering Turn 3 and spun, hitting the outside wall. Elliott will not make a qualifying attempt and will start at the rear of the field Sunday in a backup car.

“[I felt] the left rear going down there about three-quarters of the way down the back(stretch),” Elliott said. “I recognized it but I couldn’t get slowed down in time. I hate that. I don’t know what you do. Hopefully that’s not a trend that continues tomorrow. It’s kind of a concerning thing — I saw the No. 4 have one in a similar manner, but fortunately, he was in a spot to keep going.

“Obviously, it puts you in a terrible spot – missing qualifying, don’t get a pit picks buries you on pit road; buries you on the track. It kind of sets you up for a long day, so hopefully we get lucky with some kind of decent pit pick and can climb our way out.”

In the closing moments of practice, Brad Keselowski spun leaving the banking and trying to get to pit road. Keselowski did not hit anything.

There are 36 teams entered at Darlington Raceway.

UP NEXT: Cup Series qualifying for the Goodyear 400

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