MENCS Practice Speeds

MENCS: All-Star Open practice

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A.J. Allmendinger led the only practice for the All-Star Open competitors for the first 4o minutes until Clint Bowyer came onto the track with a set of option tires. Bowyer, in a brand new car, was able to best Allmendinger’s time, pushing the driver of the No. 47 Chevrolet to second on the charts. Things didn’t stay that way; however, as the clock wound down drivers who expect to transfer began to experiment with the option tires. As a result Bowyer and Allmendinger lost their position on the charts. At the end of it all Erik Jones found himself fastest among the All-Star Open contenders at a pace of 28.563 seconds per lap. Bowyer only fell to second while Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney snuck in front of Allmendinger to complete the top-five.

This year NASCAR and Goodyear have brought two tire options for teams to choose from during the main All-Star Race on Saturday night. One set are the prime tires, as Goodyear is calling them, this the typical compound and will be the one teams race on in the Coke 600 over memorial day weekend. The other set is the option tires, these tires were developed with an entirely different compound than the originals. Good year estimates these tires will be three to five tenths of a second faster per lap.

Race teams will have two tire options during the All-Star Race. They’ll have the regular prime tires or they’ll have the option of running one set of option tires, which are denoted by the green Goodyear lettering. Photo by Boyd Adams.

Seeing Bowyer bring out the option tires during the Open practice was a slight surprise, but it’s also a statement. His No. 14 Stewart Hass Racing team expects to transfer into the All-Star Race. He’ll have to beat some stout competition to do so; however, as Blaney, Elliott, jones, Allmendinger, Austin and Ty Dillon will have something to say about it.

Thats the top-seven by the way, the crowd gets thick when you’re hoping to break through and become an All-Star. Any one of these drivers are poised for a breakout win, and if you asked them all of them would say it’s an expectation to win a segment in the Open.

“Super Sub” Regan Smith, as he’s been called, piloted the No. 43 Richard Petty Ford to sixth on the leaderboard. Smith is driving in place of Aric Almirola who suffered a compression fracture to his T5 vertebrae. While Almirola will be sidelined for 8-12 weeks it’s unclear if Smith will remain as the interim driver for the near future.

Four drivers completed ten or more consecutive laps, Bowyer led the way with an average speed of 183.959 mph but Blaney wasn’t far off, averaging 183.186 mph. Elliott was third with a speed of 181.295 mph, and lastly was Ty Dillon who mustered an average of 180.012 mph.

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