William Byron fastest in Cup practice in rain at Circuit of the Americas

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AUSTIN, Texas – William Byron posted the fastest lap in the rain Saturday at Circuit of the Americas. He was one of three Hendrick Motorsports drivers in the top five a week after the organization went 1-2-3-4 in the Dover race.

Byron led the way with a lap of 1 minute, 37.694 seconds (77.847 mph). He was followed by Joey Logano (1:38.281/77.558 mph), Hendrick driver Kyle Larson (1:38.468/77.467 mph), Kyle Busch (1:38.639/77.383 mph) and Hendrick driver Chase Elliott (1:38.908/77.252 mph). Daytona road course winner Christopher Bell was sixth (1:39.010/77.203 mph).

Elliott, Bell and Denny Hamlin each ran 15 laps, the most in the 55-minute session.

CUP PRACTICE: Cup final practice results

“I feel like for me, it’s just anytime I hesitate I’m not so great, especially in adverse conditions like the rain,” Byron said. “Kind of felt like I was trying to feel it out there in the beginning of practice and I wasn’t going so great. And I started to trust it. I started to kind of trust my feelings and trust my feeling for grip and what I feel like is a better line. It changes every lap, which is cool about the rain.”

Logano also enjoyed running in the rain.

“I could have stayed out there making laps all day, I was having a good time,” he said.

Logano noted the challenge of racing in the rain.

“The whole thing is a head game,” he said. “It’s a mental strain out there of how hard can you push, how hard can you drive into the corner and being able to see behind cars. That’s probably the hardest part visually down that long straightaway between (Turns) 11 and 12. The spray off the back of the car, you can’t see. You just straight up can’t see and you’re going really, really fast, and the car is hydroplaning through that section.”

Cup qualifying is Sunday morning. The series races Sunday afternoon (2:30 p.m. ET on FS1). The wunderground.com forecast calls for a 69% chance of rain for qualifying and a 67% chance of thunderstorms around the start of the race.