Truex paces “Happy Hour” at Las Vegas

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Martin Truex Jr. led today’s Sprint Cup final practice session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a top speed of 188.383 miles per hour in the No. 56 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota.

Truex, who will start 11th in tomorrow’s Kobalt Tools 400 at LVMS, paced the session ahead of the series’ most recent winner, Carl Edwards (187.007 mph), Las Vegas’ own Kyle Busch (186.845 mph), championship leader Jimmie Johnson (186.528 mph), and one of Truex’s teammates, Mark Martin (185.816 mph).

The starting grid for the race was set primarily by last year’s owner points after steady rains washed away qualifying on Friday, which gave Brad Keselowski and Clint Bowyer the front row. Keselowski was only 21st-quickest in “Happy Hour,” while Bowyer posted the sixth-fastest lap of the session (185.803 mph).

In Saturday’s morning practice, Kasey Kahne (eighth-fastest in the afternoon) was the quickest in his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, followed by Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, and Carl Edwards. Kahne starts fourth on Sunday.

The Cup teams will be going into tomorrow at a bit of a deficit on track time. Outside of an extended test-and-tune session on Thursday at LVMS (which saw some teams use different cars than what they’ll use in the race), today’s two practices served as the only time for teams to get everything squared away before their big 400-miler.

Montoya: ‘Hopefully I get a chance to do Indy again’ (VIDEO)

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Juan Pablo Montoya is on site at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, his latest trip in a summer and fall filled with a lot of international travel and a number of different race cars he’s been in.

Montoya is committed to a full season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Acura Team Penske in 2018, as he’ll share one of the team’s Acura ARX-05s with Dane Cameron.

However, the question of whether he’ll be able to race in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil remains.

Team Penske has said it plans to only run four cars next month of May, with Helio Castroneves as the fourth driver alongside the three full-time cars driven by Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power.

While Montoya has said elsewhere that he’s shopping offers and has talked with other teams, it’d be highly surprising to see the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion who developed the Chevrolet engine for IndyCar’s 2018 Dallara universal body kit in a Honda-powered IndyCar, although he is running Honda’s brand (Acura) in sports cars.

Montoya elaborated on his Indy 500 prospects in an interview with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton at the Circuit of The Americas.

“Not full-time no,” Montoya told NBCSN of his IndyCar 2018 prospects. “Hopefully I get a chance to go to Indy, hopefully with Penske, (and) if not someone else. We’ll see.”

Photo: IndyCar

Montoya has extolled the early testing both on the 2018 IndyCar and on the Acura ARX-05.

The first Acura chassis has run at Road Atlanta and Sebring International Raceway thus far, and will be put through its paces at other venues over the next few months.

“It’s been good. We did a lot of work with INDYCAR on that car. Fans are gonna like it,” Montoya said of the 2018 kit.

“Going to IMSA with the Acura program, we’ve done a lot of testing. It’s a beauty to drive. It drives better than what it looks! I haven’t had that much fun driving a race car in a long time.”

Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype international (DPi) race car to be campaigned by Team Penske in 2018