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Denny Hamlin ended Friday’s final practice session of the NASCAR Cup Series with the fastest lap on the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt track.
Hamlin set a best speed of 87.218 mph in the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Kyle Busch was second fastest at 87.091 mph in the #18 Camry, finishing a 1-2 sweep for JGR drivers. Rookie Todd Gilliland, Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell — another Gibbs pilot — completed the top five in practice two for Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race (7pm ET on FOX, PRN, SiriusXM).
RELATED: Practice 2 Results | weekend schedule
As with the opening practice, several incidents occurred in the second 50-minute session. Bell, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, Austin Cindric, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., William Byron and Kyle Larson were among the riders who scraped the outer retaining wall as the ruts spread throughout the day.
Ty Dillon turned a 360 in the #42 Petty GMS Motorsports Chevrolet at the seven minute mark. Chase Elliott turned around for the fourth time of the day after just 12 minutes, righted his #9 Chevy, and drove on.
The event is only the second for NASCAR’s premier league on dirt since 1970. Joey Logano won last year’s inaugural event and his team’s number 22 Penske Ford was 19th in opening practice and improved to seventh in final practice Place .
Four qualifying heats are scheduled to begin Saturday at 6:00 p.m. ET (FS2) to set the grid for Sunday night’s main event.
Tyler Reddick is the best outfield player in practice one
Tyler Reddick topped the standings in the first of two Friday practice sessions for the NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway’s dirt track.
Reddick set a lap at 89.924 mph in the #8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Chase Briscoe was second fastest at 89.753 mph over the .533 mile stretch, with Kyle Busch, Justin Haley and Kurt Busch completing the top five.
RELATED: Practice 1 Results | Dirt race format explained
Reddick was also third in the table of consecutive 10-lap averages but said he expected track conditions to shift from the timing of late afternoon practice to a main event scheduled under traffic lights.
“It will be different, just like it was different for this race last year. There was a huge difference from practice to racing,” said Reddick. “But we will drive this race at night on Sunday. This web retains moisture better. There are just a lot of factors at play. The track will be different but I can’t really predict what it’s going to be like. We kind of have to wait and see how the track gets prepared. Certainly it will take a lot longer to get there at the end of our practice if we are driving in night conditions and the sun is not really beating down on the track.”
The 50-minute session was littered with a handful of relatively minor incidents. Alex Bowman spun a solo spin in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet just two minutes into the session and teammate Chase Elliott steered the No. 9 Chevy out of Turn 4 after seven minutes and then again halfway into Turn 2 and a third 7 1/2 minutes before the end.
Briscoe’s No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford slowed at the 10-minute mark with a flat left rear tire. Denny Hamlin scratched the right rear fender in his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota after 19 minutes.
“Couldn’t see the corner,” Hamlin told FOX Sports. “The dust was so bad someone was about 10 lengths in front of me and standing right against the wall so it was a ton of dust. I didn’t even see where the corner was, so I was late.”
Ross Chastain added his name with a lazy spin on the apron with 10 minutes to go, and Logano slid out of the high groove and around at Turn 2 with almost four minutes remaining. Haley’s spin coincided with the red and black flags ending the session.