Josh Hedges/Getty Images

Martin Truex Jr. supports decision to skip Miami test: ‘It gives a false sense of security’

1 Comment

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Absence makes the car go faster?

That’s the approach Martin Truex Jr. and crew chief Cole Pearn are embracing in electing to skip the critical test Oct. 18-19 at Homestead Miami Speedway, site of the Nov. 20 season finale that will determine the Sprint Cup championship.

Truex, who won two of the first three races in the 2016 playoffs and is among the championship favorites, said the team vacillated on the decision for weeks before Pearn decided last week against making the 2,000-mile track to South Florida from Denver, where the Furniture Row Racing  is based.

“Cole feels good about that, so I’m with him,” Truex said Friday before practice at Kansas Speedway. “I think he’s making the right decision. We went to Homestead and tested the last two years and went back for the race and we were awful. It gives you a false sense of security when you go to a test like that a month ahead of the race. You feel like you’re good, you go back to the race track, and (the weather is) completely different and then you don’t know what to do. You don’t know what direction to head.”

Truex finished 12th at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2015, last among the four championship contenders. He finished 17th there two years ago – after finishing third, sixth and fourth in the previous three years with Michael Waltrip Racing.

“Homestead is a long way from Denver, so we’re just trying to make sure we’re focused on the right things,” he said. “We feel like testing honestly has not really done anything to help us along. We feel like our time is better spent at the shop getting prepared.”

The No. 78 Toyota also won the Chase for the Sprint Cup opener at Chicagoland Speedway without having tested.

“Some of our worst races this year have been after tests believe it or not, so it’s an interesting thing,” he said. “I think we’re making the right decision, but we won’t know that until Homestead.”

Truex’s team will be able to feed setup data into its simulations to prepare for the season finale, gleaning the information from Joe Gibbs Racing’s Carl Edwards through Toyota Racing Development.

Edwards said he could understand why a team might skip the session.

“There’s an opportunity to test for the ultimate race – the race that finishes the year, but it’s also an interruption in your Chase, and it can take away as well,” he said. “We feel like testing at Homestead is going to benefit us. I love Homestead, I like going down to South Florida, so for me I think it’s good and our team is prepared to deal with it. There are two sides to it.”

Kyle Larson fastest in final practice for Coca-Cola 600

Getty Images
Leave a comment

CONCORD, N.C. — Kyle Larson topped the final practice session for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 with a speed at 186.400 mph.

The Cup points leader, Larson will start 39th in the race because his No. 42 Chevrolet didn’t clear inspection in time to qualify.

Ryan Blaney (185.861), Matt Kenseth (185.046), Kurt Busch (184.856) and Erik Jones (184.818) rounded out the top five.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was seventh fastest at 184.433 mph. Pole-sitter Kevin Harvick was 20th fastest at 182.648 mph.

Jimmie Johnson recorded the most laps in the session with 47.

Jamie McMurray had the best 10-lap average at 180.914 mph.

The session was stopped for a caution once after Brad Keselowski spun exiting Turn 4.

Click here for the full practice report.

Justin Allgaier wins pole for Charlotte Xfinity race

Getty Images
Leave a comment

CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier won the pole for the Xfinity Series’ Hisense 4K TV 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

With a speed at 182.488 mph, Allgaier earned his fifth Xfinity pole and his first since the March 2013 race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Allgaier is joined on the front row by Austin Dillon (181.519).

The top five was completed by Ryan Blaney (181.378), Daniel Hemric (181.324) and Kevin Harvick (181.245).

Christopher Bell will start seventh in his first Xfinity race.

Brad Keselowski and Dakoda Armstrong will start from the rear after not passing inspection in time to qualify.

Click here for full qualifying results.

Ryan Blaney leads second Coke 600 practice

Getty Images
Leave a comment

CONCORD, N.C. — Ryan Blaney posted the top speed in the second practice session for the Coca-Cola 600.

Blaney’s No. 21 Ford produced a speed of 188.055 mph Saturday morning around Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The top five was filled out by Erik Jones (187.598 mph), Martin Truex Jr. (187.084), Daniel Suarez (186.838) and Trevor Bayne (186.239).

Pole-sitter Kevin Harvick was ninth fastest at 185.567 mph. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 14th quickest at 185.141 mph.

Kyle Busch recorded the most laps in the session with 48.

Click here for the full practice report.

Eight teams lose 15 minutes of Coke 600 practice for failing pre-qualifying inspection

Getty Images
Leave a comment

CONCORD, N.C. — Eight Cup teams were held 15 minutes during Coca-Cola 600 practice today for failing pre-qualifying inspection on Thursday

Drivers include Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard, David Ragan, Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, Corey LaJoie and Chris Buescher.

Buescher’s team also loses pit selection for Sunday’s race because it failed inspection three times.

Larson and LaJoie’s loss of practice time comes after neither qualified Thuraday because their cars didn’t clear inspection in time.