The usual suspects were at the top of the speed chart during the final Happy Hour practice in advance of the Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway in what is quickly shaping up as a two-team battle.
Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch wound up 1-2 in the last session, a switch of positions from the opening round of practice, when Busch was fastest and Harvick was second. Harvick’s best lap in qualifying was 136.317 miles per hour, while Kurt Busch’s best lap was 136.173 mph.
Pole-sitter Kyle Busch was third in the first of the powerhouse Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas, which swept the top three positions in qualifying. Chase Elliott was fourth, with Austin Dillon again impressing as he completed the top five.
After three rounds of practice over two days, plus Friday’s qualifying session, the JGR and SHR teams are the clear favorites to win, having separated themselves from the competition.
Three drivers will start Sunday’s race in the rear of the field: Jimmie Johnson and Michael Annett for going to backup cars, and Kasey Kahne for an engine change.