Kevin Harvick sets track record, tops speed charts in first Cup practice at Phoenix


Kevin Harvick wanted to get off to a good start for this weekend’s Quicken Loans for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

He has to be happy with his first practice effort, setting a new PIR track speed record (141.521 mph) in the process of Friday’s first practice session.

In fact, seven drivers broke the old mark, starting with Harvick, followed by Kyle Larson (141.471 mph), Brad Keselowski (140.851), Kurt Busch (140.526), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (140.362), Martin Truex Jr. (140.192) and the driver who originally started the record-breaking runs early in the session, Kyle Busch (140.171).

The next six drivers, from eighth to 13th, included four of the remaining eight Chase competitors: Denny Hamlin (140.083), Joey Logano (139.996), Tony Stewart (139.811), Paul Menard (139.784), Jeff Gordon (139.762) and Matt Kenseth (139.654).

But two of the eight Chasers were way off the pace and will likely have to make some serious adjustments prior to qualifying later Friday afternoon and Saturday’s final two practice sessions.

Carl Edwards was 25th-fastest (138.985 mph), while Ryan Newman was 27th-fastest (138.932).

“Practice did not go well for us, it was not very good,” Edwards said. “We’re not going to give up, we’re not going to quit.

“ … We’re slower, we’re not where we want. We just have to go out and do the work.”

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