Chastain's momentum continues, tops Phoenix practice


Ross Chastain fired the first shot in the NASCAR Cup Series championship battle with the fastest lap in practice Friday night at Phoenix Raceway. The No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet clocked in at 133.239mph (27.019s). It was his fourth lap on the track, and held up throughout the session. Ryan Blaney was second fastest at 133.037mph with Kyle Busch third at 131.94mph. Tyler Reddick was fourth at 132.905mph and Kevin Harvick completed the top five at 132.905mph. Denny Hamlin was sixth fastest at 132.826 mph, Joey Logano seventh at 132.802mph, Austin Cindric eighth at 132.616mph and William Byron ninth at 132.484 mph. Chase Elliott and the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 team was 10th fastest at 132.343 mph. The slowest playoff driver was Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 team of Christopher Bell in 20th (131.718 mph). It was a traditional 50-minute session with the track open to the full field. There were no incidents or yellow flags during the session. Defending race winner and reigning champion Kyle Larson was 13th fastest at 132.114 mph. Chastain ran 42 laps in practice while Logano ran 54, Elliott, 55 and Bell, 33. Ryan Blaney was fastest in the best 10 consecutive lap average over Tyler Reddick and Kevin Harvick. Elliott was fourth best in the category, with Logano fifth. Chastain was eighth in the category. Bell was 31st. There are 36 drivers entered in the season finale. UP NEXT: Cup Series qualifying at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday.