Kyle Busch paces first Cup practice at New Hampshire

Kyle Busch is off to a good start for a second consecutive win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Busch, who started from the pole and won last fall’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the track, posted the fastest average single-lap speed in Friday’s lone practice session.

Busch’s speed of 133.769 mph just edged the run from Kyle Larson (133.788 mph). Denny Hamlin was third, Erik Jones was fourth and Ryan Blaney completed the top-five.

“I think that Loudon sometimes is a more challenging race track to pass people on, but we’ve had a lot of success there and think we will again this weekend,” Busch said. “There is more time or opportunity for slipping and sliding and contact being made, being a short track, being a flat track.

“To be fast at Loudon, you have to have good brakes and you have to roll the center really well and get that good forward bite off the corners and make sure it sticks.”

Rounding out the Top 10 in practice were Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr. and Kurt Busch.

With about 17 minutes remaining in the 50-minute session, David Ragan got into the wall between Turns 3 and 4 to bring out a brief caution.

He drove his No. 38 Ford back to the garage. NASCAR checked the track for possible oil dropped but determined the track was clear.

Four drivers – Kyle Weatherman, B.J. McLeod, Blake Jones, and Johnson – were forced to sit out the final 15 minutes of the practice session for being late to pre-qualifying/race inspection last weekend at Kentucky Speedway.

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