NXS: Erik Jones Leads Cold Practice Early Friday Morning

Photo Credit: Noel Lanier

Cold temperatures during XFINITY Series practice have left many teams and drivers wondering where they sit, with the exception of Erik Jones who led the way in his No. 20 Hisense Toyota with a lap of 30.236 seconds.

Erik Jones was followed by Ryan Reed in second. Reed is working with a new crew chief in Phil Gould this year, and it seems to already be paying off for the youngster.

Blake Koch wound up third in practice after making headlines with a career-best finish of ninth at Daytona with his brand new team Kaulig Racing. Koch and Kaulig Racing enter this season in a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing. If the race last weekend and early practice runs are any indication, this will be a career year for Koch.

Jeb Burton is another driver with a new team. Burton’s deal with Richard Petty Motorsports didn’t come together until a few weeks ago, but he put his No. 43 team led by Drew Blickensderfer to fourth on the board.

Ty Dillon, one of the championship favorites among many went to fifth on the board after a few practice runs. Dillon didn’t show much speed after his first practice run of the morning, but steadily picked up the pace for a top-five effort.

Brad Keselowski is a 34-time XFINITY Series winner, but he’s never gone to victory lane at Atlanta in any series. A sixth place practice run isn’t what he and crew chief Brian Wilson wanted to see, but they know this first practice won’t be an indication of what we see on raceday.

“We (No. 22 team) don’t really want to practice,” said Keselowski. “Up early in the cold, it’s not really useful for anything but them.”

Only 29 cars went out for a practice run, as a lot of teams recognized the temperatures would loosen up their cars and give them a false reading on how their cars would react. Among the drivers who did not make a lap included Kyle Busch in the No. 18 and Paul Menard’s No. 2 car.

With only 40 cars in Atlanta, all 40 will race tomorrow.

 

POS DRIVER LAPS FAST SPEED FAST TIME BEHIND
1 #20 Erik Jones 24 183.358 30.236 Leader
2 #16 Ryan Reed 8 182.880 30.315 0.079
3 #11 Blake Koch 4 182.507 30.377 0.141
4 #43 Jeb Burton 3 182.332 30.406 0.170
5 #3 Ty Dillon 4 182.213 30.426 0.190
6 #22 Brad Keselowski 3 181.806 30.494 0.258
7 #42 Kyle Larson 2 181.390 30.564 0.328
8 #62 Brendan Gaughan 8 181.271 30.584 0.348
9 #88 Kevin Harvick 2 181.029 30.625 0.389
10 #6 Darrell Wallace Jr. 5 181.023 30.626 0.390
11 #39 Ryan Sieg 1 180.922 30.643 0.407
12 #33 Brandon Jones 25 180.757 30.671 0.435
13 #19 Daniel Suarez 3 180.269 30.754 0.518
14 #7 Justin Allgaier 4 180.129 30.778 0.542
15 #1 Elliott Sadler 2 180.012 30.798 0.562
16 #28 Dakoda Armstrong 8 179.796 30.835 0.599
17 #48 Brennan Poole 9 179.012 30.970 0.734
18 #14 J.J. Yeley 6 177.658 31.206 0.970
19 #24 Corey LaJoie 16 176.983 31.325 1.089
20 #1 Ryan Preece 11 173.771 31.904 1.668
21 #44 David Starr 4 173.045 32.038 1.802
22 #40 Carl Long 7 172.393 32.159 1.923
23 #0 Garrett Smithley 3 172.345 32.168 1.932
24 #52 Joey Gase 4 170.490 32.518 2.282
25 #70 Derrike Cope 2 168.932 32.818 2.582
26 #90 Mario Gosselin 3 168.932 32.818 2.582
27 #25 Chris Cockrum 5 168.291 32.943 2.707
28 #13 Josh Reaume 3 165.760 33.446 3.210
29 #7 Ray Black Jr. 4 165.261 33.547 3.311
30 #99 Todd Peck 3 160.102 34.628 4.392
31 #89 Morgan Shepherd 1 143.252 38.701 8.465
About Tyson Lautenschlager 552 Articles
A 22-year-old from Ontario, Canada, Tyson Lautenschlager is a Humber College journalism graduate. He is currently the managing editor of OnPitRoad and a chase producer at CTV News Channel in Toronto.