William Byron fastest overall in NASCAR Cup practice at COTA

William Byron fastest overall in NASCAR Cup practice at COTA

Byron, who won the pole for this race a year ago, was among the last cars to complete laps at the end of 1½ hours of practice and with time already expired registered the fastest average lap speed of the day at 94.415 mph.

Teams were split into two groups and each group given a pair of 20-minute sessions on the track since it’s the first road course race of the season with NASCAR’s new aero package in use.

Byron’s top speed came from Group B, which just eclipsed Ty Gibbs’ fastest lap of 94.681 mph, which came in the second of Group A’s sessions.

Group B

Byron’s late flyer lap in the second of two 20-minute Group B sessions at 94.703 mph easily topped the speed chart.

His Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Alex Bowman, ended up second fastest (94.415 mph) and Christopher Bell was third (94.226 mph). Ross Chastain and Kamui Kobayashi rounded out the top five.

In the first Group B session, Chastain spun around once but was able to get back going and a handful of drivers had their lap times disallowed for short cutting the course, including Michael McDowell, Austin Dillon and Josh Berry.

McDowell spun around early in the second Group B session but was able to get back on track without need of a caution. Chastain and Justin Haley had lap times disallowed in the second session for short cutting the course.

Group A

Gibbs set a blistering pace in both Group A sessions, and improved on his time in the second 40-minute practice, leading the way with an average lap speed of 94.681 mph.

Wallace ended up second quick (94.260 mph) Kyle Busch was third. Shane van Gisbergen and Corey LaJoie rounded out the top five.

“Proud of the effort of everyone at 23XI Racing,” Wallace said. “It’s paying off, but some guys were on different tires. Just going through the motions and setting us up for the race tomorrow.”

About 10 minutes into the first Group A session, Tyler Reddick went around off Turn 7 and stalled on the track, which forced NASCAR to bring a brief halt to the action.


Several drivers had their lap times disallowed after short cutting the course in Group A, including LaJoie, Denny Hamlin, A.J. Allmendinger, Todd Gilliland, Ryan Blaney and Chase Briscoe.

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