Ryan Blaney secures top spot in final practice at Kansas – Nascar

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

Ryan Blaney nestled the Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford into the top spot in final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice Saturday afternoon at Kansas Speedway.

Blaney logged a fast lap of 182.057 mph in the 50-minute session. It came one day after his speed in Coors Light Pole Qualifying was disallowed because of a technical infraction, sending Blaney to the back of the 40-car field for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Kyle Busch, who scored his only Kansas win in May 2016, was second-fastest at 181.843 mph in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota. Kevin Harvick, twice a winner at Kansas, was third-fastest (181.720) in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Ford, completing a 1-2-3 leaderboard sweep of championship-eligible drivers.

Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Daniel Suarez (181.665 mph) and Matt Kenseth (181.543) completed the top five.

Series points leader Martin Truex Jr. was 12th-fastest in the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota. He’ll start Sunday’s 400 from the No. 1 position after winning his third Coors Light Pole of the season in Friday qualifying.

Sunday’s event marks the finale of the three-race Round of 12. The championship-eligible pool will be whittled from 12 drivers to eight, heading into next weekend’s Round of 8 opener at Martinsville Speedway.

Six teams served 15-minute deductions from their time in the 50-minute final practice because of technical infractions:

  • The No. 00 StarCom Racing Chevrolet of Derrike Cope
  • The No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet of Jamie McMurray
  • The No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Trevor Bayne
  • The No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Chase Elliott
  • The No. 27 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Paul Menard
  • The No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford of Aric Almirola

Larson shows speed in early Saturday practice

RELATED: Practice 2 results

Kyle Larson surged to the top of the leaderboard in Saturday’s early practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas Speedway.

Larson posted a 181.671-mph lap in the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet around the 1.5-mile track. He’ll start 13th in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the sixth of 10 races in the postseason.

Kevin Harvick, a two-time Kansas winner, clinched the second-fastest lap, turning in a 181.586 mph speed in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Ford. Rookie Daniel Suarez was third-best in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota, and Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer finished out the leaderboard’s top five in the 50-minute session.

Sunday’s event is the final race in the Playoffs’ Round of 12. Four of the remaining 12 postseason-eligible drivers will be eliminated from championship contention after Sunday’s race.

Martin Truex Jr., who is set to start first Sunday after winning the Coors Light Pole in Friday qualifying, was 10th-fastest in the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota. Truex — who won at Kansas in May — has already clinched a spot in the Round of 8, which begins next weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

Brad Keselowski, last week’s winner at Talladega Superspeedway, is the only other driver who has earned an automatic berth in the Round of 8. In Saturday’s early practice, Keselowski was 25th-fastest, slowest of the remaining Playoff-eligible drivers.

Final practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is scheduled Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN).

Three teams served 15-minute penalties for violations found in technical inspections:

  • The No. 00 StarCom Racing Chevrolet of Derrike Cope
  • The No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford of Landon Cassill
  • The No. 47 JTG-Daugherty Chevrolet of AJ Allmendinger

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