Kyle Larson posts fastest lap in opening day of Las Vegas test
Kyle Larson posted the fastest lap in Wednesday’s organizational test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The test, which featured 16 Cup drivers, concludes Thursday.
Larson led the way with a lap of 188.403 mph in the afternoon session. Brad Keselowski won the pole last spring at Las Vegas with a lap of 193.68 mph.
Rookie William Byron was next on the speed chart Wednesday with a lap of 188.298 mph, a time he set in the morning session. Ryan Newman was third at 188.186 mph, also set in the morning session.
The top three were all in Chevrolets. Wednesday marked the first time for many Chevrolet teams to be on track with the new Camaro.
“It seems fine,’’ Larson said of the new car. “It doesn’t seem too much different than the other car. Maybe it will be different once we get in traffic and stuff, but at a test you don’t really get to simulate that. It seemed to have good speed.”
Drivers expressed caution in reading too much into the day’s testing results.
“You never know who is tuned up to try to raise morale within their own team and who is legit,’’ Keselowski said. “I think usually the bigger teams are fairly legit at these tests, but then again from a production standpoint sometimes teams don’t bring their best cars.
“I know that Penske is notorious for that. We kind of always bring a car that is a generation or two behind just for production reasons, not because we’re trying to hide anything. We’re trying to make sure that all of our people are working on the race car not the test car.
“So you can never really tell for certain. That doesn’t mean you still can’t work on things. What we really put stock into is can we find something, can we identify the things that really make a difference in our race car and tune those and perhaps have a better understanding for when we come back to this track or one of similar nature.’’
Kurt Busch, who was fourth on the speed chart with a lap of 187.846 mph, said he was pleased with his car during the test.
“The car has speed,’’he said. “It’s really similar on the balance for us with our Ford because we didn’t get a new body upgrade or anything over the offseason. Now it’s just a matter of settling in with my new crew chief, Billy Scott, and this group on the 41 car.’’
Here’s the day’s fastest laps from both sessions combined:
188.403 mph — Kyle Larson (Chevrolet), afternoon session
188.298 mph — William Byron (Chevrolet), morning session
188.186 mph — Ryan Newman (Chevrolet), morning session
187.846 mph — Kurt Busch (Ford), morning session
186.722 mph — Erik Jones (Toyota), afternoon session
186.574 mph — Brad Keselowski (Ford) afternoon session
186.245 mph — Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Ford) morning session
186.200 mph — Kasey Kahne (Chevrolet), morning session
185.970 mph — Darrell Wallace Jr. (Chevrolet), morning session
185.701 mph — Paul Menard (Ford), afternoon session
185.631 mph — Chris Buescher (Chevrolet), morning session
185.052 mph — Ty Dillon (Chevrolet), morning session
184.887 mph — Drew Herring (Toyota), afternoon session
184.225 mph — Cole Custer (Ford), afternoon session
182.760 mph — Justin Allgaier (Chevrolet), morning session
181.971 mph — David Ragan (Ford), morning session
NOTE: Herring, Allgaier and Ragan were driving wheel force cars for their respective manufacturers. Custer was in the No. 32 Go Fas Racing car.
TOP LAPS IN MORNING SESSION
188.298 mph — William Byron (Chevrolet)
188.186 mph — Ryan Newman (Chevrolet)
187.846 mph — Kurt Busch (Ford)
187.643 mph — Kyle Larson (Chevrolet)
186.509 mph — Erik Jones (Toyota)
TOP LAPS IN AFTERNOON SESSION
188.403 mph — Kyle Larson (Chevrolet)
187.162 mph — Ryan Newman (Chevrolet)
187.091 mph — William Byron (Chevrolet)
187.838 mph — Kurt Busch (Ford)
186.722 mph — Erik Jones (Toyota)