Denny Hamlin jumped to the top position on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series leaderboard Friday in opening practice at Michigan International Speedway.
Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota registered a 202.230-mph lap around the 2-mile track. Of the 40 cars to post speeds in the 50-minute session, 15 cracked the 200-mph barrier.
Kurt Busch, a three-time Michigan winner, wrapped up the second-fastest lap (201.901 mph) in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Ford. Daniel Suarez, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch completed the top five in the first prep session for Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Clint Bowyer, who prevailed in Michigan’s most recent event in June, turned in the seventh-fastest lap in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Ford. Defending race winner Kyle Larson was eighth-fastest in the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet.
Chase Elliott, last weekend’s first-time winner at Watkins Glen, clocked the 14th-fastest lap (200.602 mph) in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet.
Busch Pole Qualifying for Sunday’s 400-miler is scheduled Friday at 5:05 p.m. ET (NBCSN).