Nationwide Series rookie Chris Buescher and Sprint Cup regular Matt Kenseth topped the two NASCAR Nationwide Series practice sessions at Atlanta Motor Speedway ahead of tomorrow night’s 300-miler.
In Practice 1, Buescher (177.880 mph) and Kenseth (177.357 mph) actually went first and second on the time sheets ahead of Ty Dillon (176.313 mph) and two more Cup drivers – Kyle Busch (175.927 mph) and Joey Logano (175.743 mph). Defending race winner Kevin Harvick had the eighth-fastest lap (175.354 mph).
Then in Practice 2, Kenseth, by way of a lap of 177.738 mph, was the quickest. Dillon ran slower than he did in Practice 1, but moved up to second behind Kenseth with his lap of 176.201 mph.
Logano was third (176.173 mph), followed by Nationwide Series points leader Chase Elliott (175.755 mph) and Practice 1 leader Buescher (175.171 mph).
Each session had just one caution period, both times for debris.
Nationwide Series qualifying will take place tomorrow at 4:10 p.m. ET, followed by the Great Clips 300 benefiting Feed The Children later that night at 7:30 p.m. ET.
NASCAR Nationwide Series at Atlanta – First Practice Times
NASCAR Nationwide Series at Atlanta – Final Practice Times
Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.
Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.
“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”
Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”