NASCAR Playoffs Take On Dover's "Monster Mile"

Larson Fastest In Practice As Second Round Begins

Scott Stiller
October 07, 2018 - 9:27 am
Kyle Larson's No. 42 Credit One Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Camaro

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

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Dover, DE (93.7 The Fan) - The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs move to Dover International Raceway for today’s Gander Outdoors 400.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson was fastest in final practice on Saturday with a speed of 159.011 mph (22.640 seconds) in the Credit One Bank Chevrolet.  Joe Gibbs Racing Denny Hamlin was second fastest at 157.343 mph (22.880) followed by his teammate Erik Jones in third at 157.095 (22.916).  Hamlin and Jones were both eliminated from playoff competition, but Larson is still alive.

Seven playoff drivers were fourth through eleventh on the final practice charts: Aric Almirola (156.808), Chase Elliott (156.556), Kurt Busch (156.522), Clint Bowyer (156.440), Ryan Blaney (156.386), Kyle Busch (156.128) and Kevin Harvick (155.763).

Larson advanced in the playoff after limping a damaged race car and passing one car on his way to the finish line last week in Charlotte.  That pass proved key as the point Larson gained put him in a three-way tie with Jimmie Johnson and Almirola.  The tie-breaker went to Larson and Almirola, leaving Johnson on the outside of advancing into the second round.

“I got really lucky,” said Larson.  “Hopefully that means something for us and we can take advantage of the opportunity we were put in last week and go out there and have a good rest of the playoffs and maybe advance to the final four”.

Kyle Busch will start on the pole position for today’s race after rain cancelled qualifying on Friday, forcing NASCAR to set the starting lineup via owner’s points.  Harvick will start second followed by defending series Champion Martin Truex Jr. in third.  Brad Keselowski will start fourth and Bowyer will round out the top 5.  Joey Logano will start sixth followed by Kurt Busch, Blaney, Elliott and Larson.

The race will start at 2 p.m. and can be seen on NBCSN, with their coverage starting at 1 p.m. ET. The race can be heard on Motor Racing Network affiliates.

In the NASCAR Xfinity Series Christopher Bell took the victory in Saturday’s Bar Harbor 200 at Dover. The win was the seventh of Bell’s career.

Cole Custer finished second followed by Justin Allgaier, Ryan Preece and Spencer Gallagher rounded out the Top 5.  Brandon Jones finished sixth followed by Daniel Hemrick and Austin Cindric.  Ganassi Racing's John Hunter Nemechek finished ninth and Ryan Truex rounded out the Top 10.

Bell, Custer, Allgaier, Hemric, Cindric, Elliott Sadler, Tyler Reddick and Matt Tifft advanced in the playoffs.  Ross Chastain, Brandon Jones, Ryan Truex and Ryan Reed were eliminated.

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