HAMPTON, Ga. – Clint Bowyer continued Ford’s fast start to the weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway by topping final practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Saturday afternoon.
Bowyer posted a time of 30.954 seconds (179.104 mph) in the No. 14 Haas Automation Mustang, setting the bar on his third of 35 laps around the 1.54-mile quad-oval despite threatening mist for much of the session.
“It’s raining and we’re out here talking about practice,” joked Bowyer to reporters after the session. “I don’t know, though. I feel like we learned quite a bit. I think you have to check the boxes off. I was talking about balance and the ability to work on that through a run, because we know it’s going to be different here than it will be at Las Vegas or any other race track.
“You’re going to have to have adjustability in your race car to succeed with this package … and there’s going to be teams that drastically miss this compared to the teams that get it right. It’ll be a lot of fun.”
The only major moment of the session came midway through the 80-minute block of track time, when Kyle Busch went for a spin off turn two and tagged the wall, sustaining right-rear damage to his car.
Even though Busch was second-quick (30.994/178.813) with the No. 18 Snickers Creamy Toyota, he will drop to the rear of Sunday’s field in a backup car after the damage to his primary machine was too extensive to repair.
Austin Dillon was the fastest Chevrolet driver in third (31.022/178.712), followed by two relative underdogs in Front Row Motorsports’ Michael McDowell and Go Fas Racing’s Corey LaJoie.
Kurt Busch, defending Cup champion Joey Logano, rookie Daniel Hemric, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr. filled out the rest of the top 10.
To view complete results from Saturday’s practice, advance to the next page.