Blaney leads super fast practice on Sonoma’s new surface

Ryan Blaney jumped to the top of the NASCAR Cup Series leaderboard in the final minutes of practice Friday at Sonoma Raceway.

The reigning series champion laid down a lap of 97.866mph (73.202s). Ty Gibbs was second fastest at 97.829mph and Will Brown was third fastest at 97.617mph.

Brown is in a third entry for Richard Childress Racing and making his Cup Series debut. He is the current point leader in the Australian Supercars championship.

Alex Bowman was fourth fastest at 97.576mph and teammate Chase Elliott completed the top five at 97.477mph. Michael McDowell was sixth at 97.354mph, Noah Gragson, seventh at 97.333mph, Zane Smith, eighth at 97.307mph, Ross Chastain, ninth at 07.297mph and Martin Truex Jr., 10th at 07.217mph.


Sonoma is the second road course race of the season after the stop at Circuit of The Americas in late March.

This time, though, Friday practice was extended due to the 1.99-mile course having recently been repaved.

Sonoma’s new surface proved as fast as expected. The entire Cup Series field posted speeds faster than pole from a year ago (92.178mph).

There were several spins but none with significant consequences.

Josh Berry spun off Turn 2 early in practice but did not hit anything. He ended up 12th fastest.

Cam Waters, driving a third entry for RFK Racing, went for a long slide down the frontstretch toward the hill in Turn 1 and looped his Ford Mustang off the course. He also avoided any contact and was 35th fastest.

Daniel Hemric hopped the curb in Turn 2 and spun off course in his Kaulig Racing Chevrolet. Hemric, like those before him, continued undamaged.

Erik Jones was the fourth minor incident, in his case at Turn 10.

There are 38 teams entered in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.

NEXT: Cup Series qualifying 6 p.m. ET Saturday.

Story originally appeared on Racer