Martin Truex Jr tops NASCAR Indy practice

Jake Nichol August 14, 2021
Martin Truex Jr tops NASCAR Indy practice
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Ahead of the first-ever race for the NASCAR Cup Series on the Indianapolis road course, drivers took to the track for their sole practice session.

Truex sets the early pace

Drivers were allocated a single 50-minute practice session for the inaugural Cup race on the road course at Indianapolis.

It is the first time that Cup has not raced on the oval since it first started racing at IMS in 1994.

Truex posted an equal best 20 laps during the session around the 2.4-mile 14 turn circuit.

His best speed at the wheel of the #19 Joe Gibbs Toyota Camry was clocked at 98.021mph.

It means Cup cars are lapping the road course in around 1m:30s – Truex the only driver to dip under that bracket.

William Byron was second fastest for Hendrick Motorsports, but nearly 0.6mph down on Truex – who has four road course wins to his name.

Regular season contenders close

Indy included, there are just three rounds remaining the regular season before the playoffs begin.

Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin are locked level on points at the head of the standings.

Hendrick’s Larson pipped Gibbs driver Hamlin by around 0.3mph for third fastest.

Hamlin also lost some track time when he ran across the grass, blocking the radiators of the #11.

He was forced to pit so the Gibbs crew could clean the grille and get him back out.

Larson was victorious last time out at Watkins Glen, and also picked up victory on the Sonoma road course earlier in the campaign.

Reigning Xfinity Series champion and incoming Penske driver Austin Cindric rounded out the top five – in his final scheduled Cup appearance of the season.

Quiet session for the road course specialist

Chase Elliott, who is closing in on the all-time road course wins record, didn’t bother the top of the standings.

The #9 Hendrick machine posted a fastest time of 96.471mph from his 20 laps.

Elsewhere, AJ Allmendinger, who claimed pole for the XFinity Series race was 16th fastest, overcoming potential transmission problems.

Qualifying for the race will be held at 09:05am ET on Sunday morning, before the race is scheduled for 1pm ET later that day.

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

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Jake can usually be found writing about or watching anything to do with motorsport – from Formula 1 to NASCAR to British Truck Racing. His work as a motorsport journalist has been published by the likes of Autosport, Motorsport.com and Motorsport News – all highly respected names. Away from racing he is a keen amateur astronomer, podcast listener and enjoys long walks in the park with his three dogs.