It’s only one day of practice, but pre-race favorite A.J. Allmendinger appears to be shaping up to contend in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International.
Gunning for a win that can get him into the Chase, Allmendinger posted a lap of 68.538 seconds in the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet to top final Cup practice.
He was followed by another Watkins Glen favorite (perhaps a heavier one) in Marcos Ambrose, who was second in the session with a lap of 68.541 seconds.
Kyle Busch also continued to show good pace, running third with a lap of 68.553 seconds. Pocono winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fourth (68.767) and Ambrose’s Richard Petty Motorsports teammate, Aric Almirola, rounded out the Top 5 (68.788).
Clint Bowyer was sixth, Joey Logano seventh, Jimmie Johnson eighth, Jamie McMurray ninth, and Greg Biffle 10th. Practice 1 leader Kevin Harvick was 28th in this session and ran the most laps with 32.
Final practice ended a few minutes early due to Danica Patrick going off-course at Turn 5 and into the nearby tire barriers. Patrick’s backup No. 10 Stewart Haas Racing Chevrolet was quickly taken off the transporter and will be pressed into service for the remainder of the weekend. You can read more about her rough Friday here.
Also having problems in final practice were the Chip Ganassi Racing duo of McMurray and rookie Kyle Larson.
A possible power steering line failure caused McMurray to smoke badly and slow on track early on. Later, Larson reportedly suffered similar issues on his own car; he was only 27th-fastest in the final practice.
The Sprint Cup drivers will qualify tomorrow morning at 11:40 a.m. ET. As with all road courses, the Glen will feature the two-round version of NASCAR’s knock-out qualifying system.