Kyle Busch leads first Cup practice at Richmond

Kyle Busch, Richmond (Va.) Raceway’s most recent Cup series race winner, was fastest in Friday’s first practice session.

Busch posted the fastest average lap speed of 121.190 mph at the very beginning of the 50-minute session.

“Richmond is getting a little trickier, it seems like, just with the asphalt kind of getting older and the way the cars are. The consensus at Richmond is, of course, just trying to get your car to turn, but also having really good forward bite,” Busch said.

“You have to be able to get off the corners at Richmond. You have to have good brakes, as well, and be able to turn the center. All of it correlates. Everything you want as a race car driver, you’ve got to have most all of it and, if you don’t, then you better hope you have more forward bite than the rest of them.”

Aric Almirola ended up second-fastest (120.968 mph) and Erik Jones was third (120.697 mph). Ty Dillon and A.J. Allmendinger completed the top-five.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Daniel Suarez, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman. Bowman completed the most laps (58).

On his first run on the track, Truex had to take his No. 78 Toyota back to the garage after he developed a tire rub and issue with his right-front tire. He returned to the track with about 16 minutes remaining in the session.

Several drivers also had an issue during practice with the reconfigured entrance/exit to pit road from the garage, which resulted in one near-miss between Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick.

Four drivers – Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – had to sit out the final 15 minutes of the practice session.

McMurray and Bowyer were late to pre-race inspection last week, Busch failed pre-race inspection twice last week and Stenhouse failed pre-race inspection three times last week.

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