The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series cars practiced for the first time at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Friday. This track changes more than almost any other track on the circuit once rubber is laid down. It will be a challenge for crew chiefs to get a handle on what adjustments are need to keep up with track conditions.
Here are the Garage Talk Notes for the Practice 1 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway…
39 cars are entered in the race. All cars will make the race. Timmy Hill did not practice.
Goodyear brought a brand new tire to the track this week. This tire has never been used or tested. The goal is to allow teams to be able to take two tires in the race without losing and falloff.
Teams have four sets of tires for the two practice sessions and one set of tires for qualifying.
Today the weather was partly cloudy and warm (This track is very sensitive to the sun). The race Sunday is supposed to be Sunny and warmer (This will make the track slicker than it was in today’s practice).
Martin Truex Jr., David Ragan, Landon Cassill, Cole Whitt, Corey Lajoie, Reed Sorenson, Timmy Hill, Derrike Cope had to serve a 15-minute penalty at the start of practice because they failed pre-qualifying inspection last week.
Kurt Busch: Started the practice making a 5-lap run to shake down the car to make sure everything was OK. Came in and made some adjustments. He said the car was too tight in the center of turns 3 and 4. Put new springs in the car and Kurt said it was a lot better.
Chase Elliott: Tested at Las Vegas in January. The No. 24 is using their setup from the test. They immediately when to the top of the speed chart in practice. The car was fast but really loose.
Jimmie Johnson: Was working on qualifying runs early in practice. The No. 48 car went to the top of the speed chart early in practice.
Kasey Kahne: Worked on running the bottom of the track. Harvick’s spotter said the No. 5 car is really making fast laps at the bottom. He had the same setup as the No. 24 car. He said it really unloaded good today. He went to second on the speed chart after his first qualifying run.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Is too loose out of the corner. It is way too ridged and hitting the spoiler. He was 27th at the beginning of practice and then went to 20th after some adjustments. The team switched to qualifying trim at the end of practice. The No. 88 jumped to 12th after his qualifying run. He said the team really made some gains at the end of practice.
Kevin Harvick: Waited 10 minutes for some rubber to lay down on the track. Made a 5 lap run and said it feels pretty good. The No. 4 team worked mostly in race trim. The team switched to qualifying trim at the end of practice and went to second on the speed chart. He said, “The car feels pretty smooth.”
Clint Bowyer: Like the No. 4 car, Bowyer worked only in race trim for most of the practice.
Brad Keselowski: Worked on qualifying runs. The No. 2 car was 9th after his first run. He also worked on his pit road speed. He was fastest on the board after his qualifying run.
Joey Logano: While his teammate worked on qualifying, Logano worked on long runs. He said his car was really good. His crew chief told him that he is getting through corners 3 and 4 better than anyone. They put their qualifying setup in the car and he went to 9th on the speed chart.
Ryan Blaney: Made a couple of qualifying runs and then came over to talk to Brad Keselowski’s team to work on their setup. They went to second on the speed chart after using the No. 2 car’s setup.
Martin Truex Jr.: Worked on qualifying runs. He said the car feels pretty sporty. No car ran the bottom of the track as well as Truex. He said, “This car is on rails!”
Erik Jones: Went out and the car was too tight into the corners and too loose out of the corners. They put the No. 78 setup in the car and he said it was getting better.
Matt Kenseth: Tested at Las Vegas in January. Made qualifying runs and was in the top 5.
Kyle Busch: Working on qualifying set-up. He was second-fastest at the beginning of practice. After making a qualifying run early he switched to race trim and ran at the top of the track. He said the car is hitting the splitter on the bumps. Kyle told his team to work with the No. 78 to find out what they have to run the bottom of the track.
Denny Hamlin: Started practice in qualifying trim and went to the top of the leader board.
Daniel Suarez: Work on qualifying runs. The car looked pretty fast. They were fourth-fastest after making adjustments.
Kyle Larson: Reports his car is way too loose in turns 3 and 4. Came in for adjustments and Larson said “We are gaining on it. It is drivable now.” He was 8th on the speed chart after his qualifying run.
Jamie McMurray: Said his car is a “rough ride”. He said it will be a long day Sunday if they cannot make it any better than it is. They changed the shocks and he said “Much better.” The No. 1 car went to 3rd on the speed chart.
Austin Dillon: The car ran well over the bumps and was pretty good overall. He just wanted to work on the rotation out of turns 3 and 4. They made some adjustments and Dillon said the car is worst, so they put it back to how it was.
Ryan Newman: Went out and made 5 laps. He said the car was decent but tight in the corners. They switched to qualifying trim. They went to 5th after their qualifying run. He said the car is still a little tight.
Danica Patrick: Said the car is way too bouncy. They need to work on
Aric Almirola: Worked on getting the car to get over the bumps in turn 1. Said the splitter was hitting the track. The team went to qualifying trim at the end of practice.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Made some long runs and the car were way too loose. After some adjustments it was still loose coming out of the corners. He said it is spinning it.
Ty Dillon: Said the car is not getting through the bumps well and tight coming out of the corner. The team brought the car in to work on it. Went out to make another long run and Ty reported that the adjustments are making it better.
David Ragan: Said the car feels pretty good, just a little loose but drivable. The team switched to qualify trim.
AJ Allmendinger: Said the car feels pretty decent. He said the car is just a little free out of the corner.
Landon Cassill: Said his car unloaded a lot better than Atlanta. The team worked on qualifying trim. At the end of practice Cassill said, “That was exactly what I was looking for. Best of both worlds. It is now fast at both ends.”
Michael McDowell: The car was a little too tight, but not bad. The No. 95 car was the best of the cheap drivers (for Fantasy Live and DraftKings).
Cars that looked good in practice: Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth
Here are the speeds for the first practice session: Las Vegas Speeds
Follow me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR