Chase Elliott set the pace in the final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Happy Hour practice in advance of Sunday’s Auto Club 400 (FOX, 3 p.m. ET) at Auto Club Speedway, but his afternoon was not without drama.
Elliott, the second-year Hendrick Motorsports driver, lapped the 2-mile Southern California track at a speed of 187.480 miles per hour. Elliot’s best lap was just 0.021 seconds faster than the 187.378 mph run by Martin Truex Jr., who was second-fast in the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet.
Ryan Blaney timed out third in the Wood Brothers Racing Ford, followed by Truex’s teammate, rookie Erik Jones, and pole-sitter Kyle Larson.
Both pole-sitter Kyle Larson and Elliott had minor encounters with the wall in the first half of practice, though neither of them needed to go to backup cars for Sunday’s race.
Elliott said something broke on the front of his No. 24 Hendrick Chevrolet, forcing him to cut short his practice while his crew made repairs.
Kyle Busch had a lurid spin with about 15 minutes left in practice, but he was able to keep the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota off the wall and out of harm’s way.
Race coverage from Auto Club Speedway on Sunday begins at 3 p.m. ET on FOX.400.
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For complete results from Saturday’s Happy Hour practice, see below.