Ford Performance has the early hand at World Wide Technology Raceway after an eventful debut practice for the NASCAR Cup Series.
There were seven Ford drivers in the top 15 at the end of the 50-minute session Friday afternoon – the Cup Series’ first visit to WWTR.
Joey Logano, on fresh tires in the final minutes, set a 136.753mph (32.906s) lap, with Penske teammates Ryan Blaney (132.260mph) and Austin Cindric (136.104) filling out the top three.
Kurt Busch (Toyota) was fourth fastest at 136.096 mph, Erik Jones (Chevrolet) fifth at 136.001 mph, and Tyler Reddick (Chevrolet) sixth at 135.960 mph. Aric Almirola (Ford) was seventh at 135.853 mph, Kyle Larson (Chevrolet) eighth at 135.702 mph, Ross Chastain (Chevrolet) ninth at 135.685 mph, and Kyle Busch (Toyota) 10th at 135.640 mph.
The other Ford drivers were Chase Briscoe in 11th, Harrison Burton 12th, and Kevin Harvick 15th.
Five drivers found trouble in the 50-minute session. Three escaped without significant damage after suffering flat tires while two others were not as lucky.
William Byron, Bubba Wallace, and Alex Bowman had flat tires; all three drove their cars back to the garage without incident. Byron was 16th, Wallace 17th, and Bowman 21st.
Ben Rhodes (33rd fastest) smacked the wall in Turn 3 early in practice after suffering a flat left rear tire. He is driving the No. 16 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing Friday and Saturday as a fill-in while AJ Allmendinger, who will run Sunday’s race, is in Portland for the Xfinity Series.
The No. 15 of Parker Kligerman caught fire halfway through the session. Kligerman was able to drive the car back to the garage but there was heavy smoke and flame coming from underneath the hood of his Ford.