With qualifying for Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race coming up later today at Bristol Motor Speedway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has put up the fastest lap in Sprint Cup final practice.
Late in the 50-minute session, the Roush Fenway Racing driver zipped around the half-mile oval at 131.048 mph in the No. 17 Ford Fusion.
Defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson went second-fastest behind Stenhouse (131.012), and was followed by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne in third (130.869), Richard Petty Motorsports’ Aric Almirola (130.780) in fourth, and Practice 1 leader Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing in fifth (130.762).
Michigan winner Jeff Gordon, Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, and Bristol spring race winner Carl Edwards were sixth through 10th respectively in the session.
Final practice was slowed briefly by a bizarre caution that involved Richard Childress Racing’s Paul Menard. A notebook was left on the car and as Menard made his way through the Bristol high banks, it fell off and scattered papers everywhere.
Fox Sports’ Wendy Venturini later reported on NASCAR Live that those papers were actually notes from Menard’s car chief regarding the set-up of the No. 27 Chevrolet. The car chief had to go to the safety crew afterwards to retrieve what papers they were able to collect. Menard was 18th-quickest in the session (128.597).
Qualifying for tomorrow night’s 500-lap main event will go off this afternoon at 5:40 p.m. ET.