NASCAR: Carl Edwards tops final practice; Brian Vickers to backup after early crash

Leave a comment

Carl Edwards’ lap of 121.863 miles per hour was enough to lead this afternoon’s Sprint Cup final practice at Richmond International Raceway.

Ford drivers claimed the Top 2 spots in the 80-minute practice, with Brad Keselowski’s lap of 121.841 mph good for P2.

Clint Bowyer, who sits 23 points behind Greg Biffle for the final spot on the Chase Grid going into Saturday’s regular season finale, was third-fastest (121.737).

Jamie McMurray followed up his Top 10 showing in first practice by improving to fourth (121.715). Defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson ended up fifth (121.704), while Jeff Gordon, Danica Patrick, Aric Almirola, Kyle Larson, and Greg Biffle made up the remainder of the Top 10.

The session was slowed early by a crash involving Brian Vickers (pictured), who spun and slammed the Turn 2 wall. The impact left enough damage on his primary No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota to have the backup rolled off the transporter.

“We cut a left-rear tire and it just came apart,” Vickers told ESPN. “We’re not sure why…I don’t want to say [what reason], but Goodyear brought a good tire here. They changed the tire coming to this race, and as you saw in the first practice, the tires and the way they were rubbering in the track where we can run the second groove and third groove, I think it’ll make for a great race.

“But unfortunately, for whatever reason…We lost the left rear going down the front stretch. I did the best I could to keep it off the wall, but I couldn’t.”

Vickers is among those drivers that can only make the Chase for the Sprint Cup with a victory in Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400. He was fourth in this morning’s first practice session.

Qualifying is set for later tonight at 5:40 p.m. ET.

Juncos Racing to field single car entry in Indy 500

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Part-time NTT IndyCar Series entrant Juncos Racing will announce their attempt to qualify for the 2019 Indianapolis 500 within the next few weeks, according to RACER.

The team, which made its Indy 500 debut in 2017, ran 12 of the 17 IndyCar Series races last season, but has only made a start in one of the four events so far in 2019, finishing 18th in the inaugural running of the IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas with Kyle Kaiser behind the wheel.

Though no driver has yet to be announced for the single-car entry, Kaiser is expected to be the leading candidate for the ride. The 23-year-old Californian has raced for the team since 2014, where he won the 2017 Indy Lights championship.

One of the top teams in the Road to Indy ladder system, Juncos Racing has over 50 wins between Indy Lights and Indy Pro 2000 competition. The team’s most recent victory came in the second Indy Lights race at St. Petersburg this year with Rinus VeeKay behind the wheel.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter