Ryan Blaney topped the speed chart in Saturday morning’s first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway with a best lap at 188.055 mph, but Blaney’s No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford wasn’t the only fast Fusion in the session.
The Fords from the much-improved Roush Fenway Racing stable appear poised to mount a challenge in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR’s longest race. Trevor Bayne (186.239 mph) was fifth fastest on Saturday morning, with teammate and recent Talladega winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. close behind at 186.207 mph.
“We unloaded pretty good today, but we know that off-the-truck speed isn’t what matters,” Bayne said. “It’s being able to go on the long runs as the day gets hotter and the track slicks up. I actually felt like we held on to our speed pretty well at the end of practice, so I think both of us have made huge gains.
“I need to give a big shout out to these guys for working their butts off this last week after (last Saturday’s) All-Star Race, when we didn’t have the performance that we wanted. They’ve dialed our cars in a lot.”