Kyle Larson posted the fastest lap in practice Friday at Auto Club Speedway at 189.071 mph. He was followed by Denny Hamlin (188.462 mph), Kevin Harvick (188.344), Jamie McMurray (187.940) and Joey Logano (187.588). Defending race winner Jimmie Johnson had to go to a backup car after losing control in Turn 4 and sliding into the infield grass. The front of his car dug into the ground and was damaged. That was the only incident in the session involving cars. The session was stopped briefly for an owl on the track. Cup teams will qualify at 7:05 p.m. ET (4:05 p.m. Pacific)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he is “getting closer and closer” to talks with Hendrick Motorsports about a contract extension after saying last month he wanted to gain confidence in his health before he looked beyond this year. “I don’t want to make any promises I can’t deliver on,’’ Earnhardt said at the time. Earnhardt, the 14-time most popular driver, was asked Friday at Auto Club Speedway where he stood with his future in the sport.
More than a month later, Kurt Busch still is basking in his Daytona 500 victory. Busch has been lugging around his Harley J. Earl trophy on his “Where’s Earl?” tour, taking the hardware to his Las Vegas high school, the Chicago Cubs’ spring training camp and other stops. The ultimate destination for the trophy is Haas Automation’s headquarters in Oxnard, California. Busch has continued to document his tour on Twitter as the Stewart-Haas Racing driver has made multiple TV appearances and taken the trophy for a long walk on the beach. Here’s a look at all the stops Busch and Earl have made this week ahead of the Cup Series race weekend at Auto Club Speedway.