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Blaney leads Dover Cup practice

Ryan Blaney was fastest in NASCAR Cup Series practice Saturday at Dover Motor Speedway as the only drive to hit 159mph during the session. Blaney’s top speed was 159.468mph (22.575s).

Tyler Reddick was second fastest at 158.983mph and William Byron was third fastest at 158.954mph. Chase Briscoe was fourth fastest at 158.479mph, and Jimmie Johnson, in a third Legacy Motor Club entry, completed the top five at 158.444mph.

Michael McDowell was sixth fastest at 158.282mph, and Ross Chastain was seventh fastest at 158.200mph. Chase Elliott was eighth fastest at 158.165mph, AJ Allmendinger was ninth fastest at 158.054mph, and Chris Buescher completed the top 10 at 158.047mph.

Defending race winner Martin Truex Jr. was 25th fastest. Truex’s best lap was 156.952mph.

Corey Heim was 31st fastest in the No. 43 for Erik Jones, who is sidelined with a compression fracture. Heim’s lap was 156.216mph.

In the best 10 consecutive lap average, it was William Byron over Denny Hamlin, Ty Gibbs, Martin Truex Jr., and Christopher Bell. Chase Elliott, Carson Hocevar, Josh Berry, Ryan Blaney, and Zane Smith were the rest of the top 10 in the category.

Kaz Grala took a hard frontal impact into the Turn 4 wall as practice was winding down. Grala’s Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang Dark Horse appeared to get loose, shooting him hard to the outside wall and then back down the racetrack. Grala climbed out under his own power.

“That was so quick, I didn’t feel. Like I had any time to react to it,” Grala said. “It was definitely unexpected. We had been a little free through practice, but our race pace was actually really good, I felt like. I felt like that was maybe our best car of the year, and it was gone out from under me before I could try to save it.

“I’m definitely really disappointed; really unfortunate for our team. We’re obviously not in a good position for backup cars, so we’ll have to see what we have to work with for tomorrow, but far from an ideal situation. But I’m just glad I’m all right, and we’ll do what we can for tomorrow.”

Zane Smith also crashed during practice. The Spire Motorsports driver wasn’t sure if it was a tire issue that caused his Chevrolet to hit the wall and damage the right rear.

There are 37 drivers entered in the Wurth 400.

Story originally appeared on Racer