Michael McDowell fastest in Saturday’s Darlington Cup practice

Michael McDowell fastest in Saturday's Darlington Cup practice

The top speeds all came from the first 20-minute session with McDowell’s average lap speed of 169.443 mph leading all 36 participants.

McDowell announced earlier this week he was leaving Front Row Motorsports at the end of the 2024 season to join Spire Motorsports in 2025.

Ty Gibbs was second fastest overall (168.566 mph) and Chris Buescher was third (168.457 mph).

Denny Hamlin was fastest in the second 20-minute session (167.761 mph).

Among those drivers who ran at least 10 consecutive laps, Austin Cindric had the fastest average lap speed (164.645 mph). Buescher and Kyle Larson were second and third, respectively, in that category.

Group B

Hamlin, who has typically run well at Darlington, topped the second 20-minute session with an average lap speed of 167.761 mph. He was ninth-fastest overall, however.

Fellow Toyota driver Bubba Wallace ended up second fastest (167.356 mph) while Larson, who won last fall’s Darlington race, was third (167.197 mph).

Ford drivers Todd Gilliland and Cindric rounded out the top five.

Hamlin, Kyle Busch, and Ryan Blaney all tagged the wall during the practice, but without much if any damage.

The Fords of Josh Berry and Chase Briscoe and the Chevrolet of Daniel Suarez were among those cars who seemed to struggle in practice and remained near the bottom of the speed chart.

Group A

McDowell led the way in the first 20-minute session with an average lap speed of 169.443 mph.

Gibbs was second quick at 168.566 mph while Buescher was third (168.457 mph).

Christopher Bell and William Byron rounded out the top five. Byron ended up the only Chevrolet driver in the top seven of the session.

Hendrick driver Alex Bowman’s team seemed to struggle in the session, coming in 17th fastest out of the 18 cars participating. Bowman did appear to tag the wall at one point with his No. 48 Chevrolet.

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