William Byron tops rain-soaked Cup Series practice at Circuit of The Americas

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William Byron tops rain-soaked Cup Series practice at Circuit of The Americas
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William Byron topped the leaderboard in Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series practice at Circuit of The Americas at 77.847 mph in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Right behind him was Joey Logano in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford at 77.558 mph.

MORE: Full practice results | Photos from the track

Rounding out the top five were Kyle Larson in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and Chase Elliott in the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Series points leader Denny Hamlin was 16th fastest with a speed of 76.311 mph in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Byron comes into this race trying to extend his top-10 streak to 12 races and was pleased with how the No. 24 team’s practice went.

“I think Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) did a really good job of allowing me to run,” Byron said. “He knew it was going to take me all of practice to figure it out. Honestly, he does a really good job of just letting me run and just knowing he can change something on the car, but it‘s probably just going to be better if I just run around and experience it.

“I think I got 15 laps in, which was awesome. I think we expected to get three runs in the dry, which is about 15 laps, and we got that in the rain so that‘s awesome.”

The session was the first Cup Series practice since Bristol Motor Speedway’s dirt weekend earlier this year and the first laps for the premier series at the Austin, Texas-based facility. Heavy rainfall persisted throughout the practice, resulting in several drivers getting off the track.

Logano was one of the first off the track, spinning in Turn 11 early in the session. Hamlin, Austin Dillon, Brad Keselowski and Daniel Suarez were among others that ran into issues on the track.

The Cup Series qualifies on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET (FS1) before the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix gets underway at 2:30 p.m. ET (FS1).