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Carl Edwards Fastest in Friday Sprint Cup Practice at Michigan

Carl Edwards was fastest in practice on Friday afternoon for the Sprint Cup Series event at Michigan International Speedway — the second race using the high drag aerodynamic configuration first ordered up for the Brickyard 400 last month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Edwards paced the field with a fast lap of 196.046 mph around the historic two-mile venue. He was also the pole sitter at the Brickyard. His fastest lap was more than one mph faster than Kevin Harvick, who clocked in at second with a lap at 194.858 mph.

Austin Dillon was third-fastest followed Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin.

The session lasted nearly two-and-a-half hours to allow teams to adapt to the new package which was designed to create a slipstream to increase passing during the race itself. Teams were not allowed to use computer data acquisition devices during the session.

Edwards said this package certainly feels different than the one used at Michigan in June and is faster through the corners. On the other hand, it still has the same issue that it did at Indianapolis — with a lead car stalling a trailing one in it’s the dirty air.

“This race is going to be different,” Edwards said. “The cars throw a huge wake off. You really struggle behind other guys to figure out how to get your car to work. Fortunately, we have a wide race track. This track has four or five grooves in the corner so you’ll be able to search around.

“It’s going to be very difficult in practice to make your car do what you want it to do.”

Four-time Michigan winner Greg Biffle agreed about the corner speed and said the jury is out for how the package will perform on race day.

“I’m surprised how fast the center-corner speed is here,” Biffle said. “We’re really fast in the middle of the corner. Not a lot of throttle off time. We’ll have to wait and see … It’s going to be interesting to see how they drive around other cars. That’s the most important thing for this package.”

This is the only practice session scheduled for Friday. Qualifying will highlight the day at 5:05 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Two additional practice sessions are scheduled for Saturday at 8:30 at 11:30 respectively.

Defending Truck Series champion Matt Crafton practiced for the ailing Aric Almirola in the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford.

The complete times from practice can be viewed below.

  1. Carl Edwards Ldr.
  2. Kevin Harvick -0.224
  3. Austin Dillon -0.258
  4. Tony Stewart -0.271
  5. Denny Hamlin -0.362
  6. Kasey Kahne -0.406
  7. Kyle Busch -0.415
  8. David Ragan -0.426
  9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. -0.47
  10. Matt Kenseth -0.475
  11. Joey Logano -0.522
  12. Kurt Busch -0.572
  13. Sam Hornish Jr. -0.608
  14. Ryan Blaney -0.618
  15. Jeff Gordon -0.62
  16. Jimmie Johnson -0.63
  17. AJ Allmendinger -0.652
  18. Martin Truex Jr. -0.7
  19. Jamie McMurray -0.723
  20. Ryan Newman -0.726
  21. Trevor Bayne -0.758
  22. Brad Keselowski -0.789
  23. Greg Biffle -0.81
  24. Danica Patrick -0.915
  25. Paul Menard -0.919
  26. Kyle Larson -0.924
  27. Clint Bowyer -0.954
  28. Casey Mears -1.0
  29. Matt Crafton (Aric Almirola) -1.018
  30. Justin Allgaier -1.05
  31. Ricky Stenhouse -1.291
  32. Michael Annett -1.408
  33. Alex Bowman -1.557
  34. David Gilliland -1.617
  35. Matt DiBenedetto -1.624
  36. Cole Whitt -1.631
  37. Jeb Burton -1.649
  38. Brett Moffitt -1.698
  39. Landon Cassill -1.721
  40. Josh Wise -2.322
  41. Travis Kvapil -2.51
  42. Timmy Hill -3.169
  43. Reed Sorenson -3.224
  44. JJ Yeley -3.692

EMAIL MATT AT matt.weaver@popularspeed.com

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By Matt Weaver

Matt Weaver is the Executive Editor of POPULAR SPEED. He has covered NASCAR since 2011 and full-time since 2013. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He has been published all across the country and routinely makes radio appearances on Sirius XM Satellite radio and NBC Sports Radio Network.

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