A late flyer of 133.610 mph around the 1-mile Phoenix International Raceway enabled Sprint Cup rookie Alex Bowman to take top honors in final practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Bowman, who is making his third NNS start of the year and the second for JR Motorsports in their No. 5 Chevrolet, out-hustled a pair of Joe Gibbs Racing drivers, Practice 1 leader Kyle Busch (132.115) and young Erik Jones (131.738) to lead the session.
Richard Childress Racing’s Brendan Gaughan was fourth (131.598) and John Wes Townley completed the Top 5 (131.392).
As for championship leader Chase Elliott, he posted the ninth-quickest time with a lap of 131.128 mph. His closest pursuer in the standings, JRM teammate Regan Smith, was right behind him in 10th (131.095).
Meanwhile, the Ford contingent lacked speed during the session as Brad Keselowski, Chris Buescher, and Trevor Bayne all fell within 13th to 15th on the time sheets to lead the Blue Oval. Dylan Kwasniewski had the 18th-fastest lap after hitting the wall in Practice 1 hard enough to bring out a backup No. 31 Chevrolet.
Qualifying for tomorrow’s DAV 200 at PIR will take place at 12:45 p.m. ET, followed by the 200-lap main event at 4 p.m. ET.
NASCAR Nationwide Series at Phoenix – Final Practice Times
Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.
The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).
It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).
Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.
The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.
“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”
“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”