Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick set the pace early at Kansas Speedway, leading Friday’s lone Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series mega-practice at the 1.5-mile track. The veteran, who has four wins in the first 11 races this season, topped out at 186.149 mph once he went to qualifying trim.
Harvick was the lone driver to eclipse the 186-mph mark, but he had a couple of familiar faces atop the scoring pylon once practice ended. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson (185.982 mph) finished second behind Harvick, and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch — who has won three races this year, himself — was third on the board with a top speed of 185.166 mph.
Busch’s JGR teammate Erik Jones was fourth at 184.634 mph, followed by Harvick’s SHR teammate Clint Bowyer (184.489 mph) in fifth.
A third Gibbs racer, Daniel Suarez (184.464 mph), jumped into sixth place with just two minutes remaining in practice. Aric Almirola, Chris Buescher, Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. completed the top 10. Truex Jr., who swept the Kansas races last season, climbed to 10th on his final run of the afternoon.
Matt Kenseth, making his return to both the track and to Roush Fenway Racing, logged his first laps in the No. 6 Ford and finished 28th on the speed chart at 179.706 mph.
The day initially called for two Monster Energy Series practices, but early rainstorms altered the day’s schedule. NASCAR officials reconfigured the Monster Energy Series slate to just one practice that lasted nearly two-and-a-half hours, and included a brief delay to tend to a weeper.
The No. 42 team of Larson and the No. 88 team of Alex Bowman both were given 30-minute practice penalties for failing pre-race inspection three times last week at Dover. Additionally, the No. 3 team of Austin Dillon, the No. 4 team of Harvick and the No. 31 team of Ryan Newman all were given 15-minute practice penalty holds for failing pre-race inspection twice last week at Dover.
Qualifying for Saturday’s race (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is scheduled for later today at 6:45 p.m. ET (FS1).