Practice 1 results for FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan
As expected, drivers reached ludicrous speeds during Friday’s lone round of practice for the FireKeepers Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Raceway.
NASCAR’s new low-downforce package meant that the fastest cars entered Turn 1 at speeds in excess of 215 miles per hour.
That said, with the greatly reduced rear spoiler and front splitter sizes, speeds through the corners were dramatically slower.
That meant the fastest overall lap speeds didn’t surpass Jeff Gordon’s track record of 206.558 mph, which the four-time champion set in 2014.
When the 85-minute session ended, rookie Chase Elliott was atop the leaderboard with a best lap of 201.630 mph. in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
Second at 201.314 mph was Martin Truex Jr. in the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet. The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas of Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin were third and fifth, respectively sandwiching fourth-place Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Truex said he likes the trend of reduced downforce.
“We’re having to work a little bit harder in the car and it’s been a lot of fun” said Truex. “So been able to race at most tracks a little bit easier behind cars, get up closer to guys and this year is the first time in a few years we’ve been able to kind of get up behind somebody – get close enough to make them loose like you used to do in the old days."
And that’s produced a better on-track product.
“It’s been good. I think the racing has been great,” said Truex. “We obviously still have some challenges at certain tracks and you’re always going to have that just based on tracks all being different, but pleased with what we’ve seen so far this year I feel like. Hopefully again like you said this will be another step in that direction and hopefully be a lot of fun for everyone.”
The Cup cars will be back on track for qualifying at 4:15 p.m., which will be televised on FS1.