For the second time on Saturday, Kurt Busch’s No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet topped the speed charts at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch started the day fastest in the morning’s 55-minute session and ended final practice back on top after a lap of 188.653 mph. The 2010 Coca-Cola 600 winner will roll off 14th for Sunday’s race.
Hendrick Motorsports’ Kasey Kahne was second fastest in the session with a lap at 187.174 mph. While Kahne has shown speed during each on-track session, a flat tire in Round 1 of qualifying led to a 33rd-place starting spot.
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Richard Childress Racing’s Paul Menard, Roush Fenway Racing’s Greg Biffle, and pole-sitter and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Matt Kenseth rounded out the top five in Saturday’s final practice session. Martin Truex Jr., rookie Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick made up the rest of the top 10.
Jamie McMurray, who said he was struggling with the car before final practice, ran the most laps of the session, 54, and was 19th fastest.
In the closing moments of the 50-minute session, Erik Jones climbed behind the wheel and took a few laps in Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Busch will make his first points-paying start of the season Sunday afternoon after returning to action in last weekend’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
While Busch remains committed to running the full 600 miles, the team wanted to ensure Jones’ seat insert fit in the car if he is needed at any point during Sunday’s race.
Kasey Kahne had the best 10-consecutive-lap average of the session, followed by Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson.