Clint Bowyer leads Cup final practice at Phoenix


And now, it’s time to wait. Preparations are complete for Sunday’s pivotal Advocare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, as Clint Bowyer has posted the fastest time in final practice with a lap of 134.862 mph in the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota.

As for the two championship rivals, Matt Kenseth was fifth-quickest (best lap: 134.559 mph) in the session. Kenseth enters Phoenix down seven points in the Chase for the Sprint Cup to Johnson, who was 10th-quickest (best lap: 134.303 mph) in “Happy Hour.”

It marks the first session this weekend at PIR that has seen Kenseth go quicker than Johnson. However, Kenseth will have to start Sunday’s race from 14th starting position, while Johnson will go off from pole position.

Today’s work isn’t done for Kenseth, either, as he’ll be competing in this afternoon’s 200-lap race for the NASCAR Nationwide Series; he’ll start seventh in that event.

Behind Bowyer in “Happy Hour” was Jeff Gordon, who turned in a lap of 134.842 mph that was good enough for second. Kurt Busch, who led today’s first practice for the Cup crew, was third (134.720 mph). Dale Earnhardt Jr. (134.710 mph) and Kenseth completed the Top 5.

Kevin Harvick was eighth overall in the session, but had the quickest 10 consecutive lap average. His first 10 laps averaged out at 133.709 mph. Making up the second through fifth-fastest averages were Gordon, Joey Logano, Johnson and Kyle Busch.