Kurt Busch led the way in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series final practice for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.
Busch got around the 1.99-mile road course at a clip of 94.061 miles per hour in the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. Busch has one victory at Sonoma, which came in 2011.
Denny Hamlin was second-fastest in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, also eclipsing the 94-mph mark with a speed of 94.012 mph.
Martin Truex Jr. finished third with a lap of 93.718 mph in the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota, followed by Jamie McMurray in the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet (93.549 mph). Kevin Harvick provided a Stewart-Haas bookend to the top five with a lap of 93.441 mph in the No. 4 Ford.
Truex Jr. received significant damage to the front of his machine with roughly 10 minutes remaining, caving in the bumper of the No. 78 after running into the back of Bubba Wallace’s No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet.
William Byron suffered an axle failure early in the final practice session, taking the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet back to the garage while smoke billowed from the back of his Camaro.
Kyle Larson was also hit with mechanical trouble after light smoke puffed from the back of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet while taking the esses portion of the 1.99-mile road course. The team confirmed the source of the smoke occurred after a transmission change between practice session. The crew changed a handful of hoses and o-rings, getting Larson back on track for the remainder of the session.
The next on-track action for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be Busch Pole Award qualifying at 2:45 p.m. ET on FS1.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers shook down their race cars for the first time on a road course this season in preparation for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.
Fresh off his win at Michigan, Clint Bowyer led the way in the 75-minute session, rocketing to the top of the board early and staying there with a fast lap at 93.590 miles per hour around the 1.99-mile California road course in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.
Ryan Blaney owned the second-fastest lap at a speed of 93.546 mph in the No. 12 Team Penske Ford, followed by teammate Joey Logano in third with a speed of 93.172 mph in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford.
Jamie McMurray in the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet (93.049 mph) and Daniel Suarez (92.746 mph) in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota rounded out the top five.
Kasey Kahne lost control of his machine just 20 minutes into the session, spinning out the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet in Turn 2.
Paul Menard also received significant damage to the right-front fender of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford, making impact with a tire stack in Turn 11. “I changed my line in Turn 11. I just got too close to the damn tire,” Menard said over the radio.
Four teams served practice holds at the end of this session for failing pre-race inspection at Michigan International Speedway. The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team of Kyle Busch, No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing team of Kyle Larson and No. 95 team of Kahne served 15-minute holds for failing pre-race inspection twice. The No. 38 Front Row Motorsports team of David Ragan served a 30-minute penalty for failing three times.