FORT WORTH, Texas — Friday’s lone Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice figured to be eventful in light of the recent repaving and reconfiguration of Texas Motor Speedway.
And that certainly turned out to be the case.
Less than two minutes into the lengthy session that lasted two hours and 25 minutes in all, Denny Hamlin went for a spin in his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota as he exited Turn 2. Turns 1 and 2 were widened from 60 feet to 80 feet during the recent reconfiguration.
Hamlin was able to keep his car off the wall, however.
With 43 minutes remaining, another JGR Toyota got out of shape when Kyle Busch said he “missed the entry point getting into Turn 1” in his No. 18 car. Busch did a masterful job of containing the ensuing slide, but his car did brush the wall in the right-rear quarter-panel.
The cars of Erik Jones and Chase Elliott were not as fortunate. Jones pounded the outside wall in his No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota as he entered Turn 3 with 23 minutes left in practice, and Elliott crashed his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet hard.
Unlike both Hamlin and Busch, who were able to save their primary cars, both Jones and Elliott were forced to go to backup cars.
“We were making our second mock run,” Jones told FOX Sports. “And after our first run, I felt pretty comfortable and just got a little bit overconfident. I thought coming to green that I could hold it wide open, but I got up in the gray (area of the track) and it just took off on me.
“It’s unfortunate. It was a fast car. We’re still fourth on the board. Looking back on it, it wasn’t the greatest decision obviously. But we’ll get our backup car ready and hopefully it’ll be just as fast.”
The five-fastest cars in the session were Ryan Blaney, Michael McDowell, Chris Buescher, Jones (in his primary car that is now destroyed) and AJ Allmendinger.