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Kurt Busch edges Bowman, tops leaderboard in final Kansas practice

Kurt Busch surged to the top of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series leaderboard, topping Friday’s final practice at Kansas Speedway.

Busch posted a best lap of 177.731 mph in the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 1 Chevrolet, leading the 50-minute session, the final tune-up for Saturday’s Digital Ally 400 (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

RELATED: Final practice results | 10-lap averages | Full schedule for Kansas

Alex Bowman continued his recent show of speed by posting the second-fastest lap. But his Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet didn’t escape unscathed, scraping the outside wall with less than 10 minutes remaining.

Home-state favorite Clint Bowyer was third-fastest in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Ford. Teammate Kevin Harvick, a winner at the 1.5-mile Kansas City track last spring, landed the fourth-fastest lap, with Denny Hamlin completing the top five as the fastest Toyota in the session.

Kyle Larson also encountered trouble late in final practice. His No. 42 Chevrolet spun entering Turn 1, nearly collecting Martin Truex Jr.’s No. 19 Toyota as it skidded. Both continued without significant damage.

Truex, the most recent winner in the series, improved to 21st-fastest on the leaderboard, up from his 27th-best speed in first practice in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota.

Aric Almirola, who topped opening practice, was ninth on the final-practice chart in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 Ford.

Busch Pole Qualifying is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM)

SHR shows speed in early practice

Aric Almirola led a 1-2 sweep for Stewart-Haas Racing in Friday’s opening act for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas Speedway, topping the first practice leaderboard.

Almirola’s Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 Ford clocked a 178.153 mph lap at the 1.5-mile Kansas City oval. He was just ahead of second-fastest Clint Bowyer, a home-state favorite who wound up with a best lap of 177.381 mph in the No. 14 SHR Ford.

RELATED: Practice 1 results

Kyle Busch secured the third-fastest lap at 177.160 mph in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota. Brad Keselowski was fourth with William Byron rounding out the top five in the 50-minute session, the opening prep for Saturday’s Digital Ally 400 (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM)

Defending race winner Kevin Harvick landed the ninth-fastest lap in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Ford. Martin Truex Jr., winner of the series’ most recent race Monday at Dover, was 27th-fastest in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota. Truex is a two-time Kansas winner, having swept the 2017 season’s events at the 1.5-mile track.

MORE: Best 10-lap averages

NASCAR officials penalized four teams by deducting practice time after their cars failed inspection multiple times last weekend at Dover. The Front Row Motorsports No. 36 Ford for driver Matt Tifft was held for 30 minutes at the end of first practice for failing inspection three times at the Monster Mile.

The following teams served 15-minute penalties for failing inspection twice at Dover:

The No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Martin Truex Jr.

The No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet of Ryan Preece

The No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Alex Bowman