Kyle Larson leads first Sprint Cup practice at Martinsville Speedway


MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Kyle Larson outran the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship contenders in the opening practice Friday for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Larson, who was eliminated from the Chase after the Round of 16, turned a 98.170-mph lap in his No. 42 Chevrolet. Chase driver Denny Hamlin‘s No. 11 Toyota was second (98.058 mph) on the 0.526-mile oval, which will open the Round of 8 in the NASCAR playoffs.

Title contender Joey Logano (98.053), who won Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, was third, followed by Chase Elliott and Danica Patrick.

Here’s how the other six Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared in practice for the race that will mark the first of three that sets the four-driver field for the championship round at Homestead-Miami Speedway:

Kyle Busch, seventh;

Jimmie Johnson 10th;

Kurt Busch 11th.

Matt Kenseth, 15th;

Carl Edwards 18th;

Kevin Harvick 19th;

Jeff Gordon, the defending winner of the race who is making his last start of the season in place of Dale Earnhardt Jr., was ninth.

Click here to view the speeds from the opening practice at Martinsville.

Brian Scott, who finished a career-best second Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, scraped the wall with his No. 44 Ford during the lone incident in the practice. Scott told NBCSN’s Marty Snider that wheel-hopping caused the contact.