DOVER, Del. — Kyle Busch got his hunt for a ninth NASCAR XFINITY Series win this season off to a fast start on Friday, topping the first of two practice sessions at Dover International Speedway.
Busch powered the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota to a lap of 22.824 seconds (157.729 mph) around the one-mile concrete oval, leading a one-two punch from Joe Gibbs Racing as the outfit continues to dominate NASCAR’s second-tier division.
The defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion is a five-time winner in Dover XFINITY action, most recently in 2014, when he won both XFINITY races that year at the Delaware facility.
He did not compete in the XFINITY race this spring at Dover, but Matt Tifft drove the No. 18 car to an eighth place finish.
Defending Dover XFINITY winner Erik Jones, a teammate to Busch at JGR, piloted his No. 20 GameStop Toyota to the runner-up spot on the speed charts with a lap of 23.134 seconds (155.615 mph), more than three tenths of a second off of Busch’s best time.
Jones is currently the first driver outside of the Chase cutoff line entering Dover, three points behind eighth-place points man Blake Koch after a late-race crash last weekend at Kentucky Speedway took him out of contention for the win.
Alex Bowman (23.175/155.340) was third for JR Motorsports, followed by Sprint Cup regulars Austin Dillon and Joey Logano.
Chase contenders Brandon Jones, Ty Dillon, Justin Allgaier, Koch and Darrell Wallace Jr. completed the top 10.
Kentucky winner and current points leader Elliott Sadler was 11th-quick, but has a guaranteed berth in the Round of 8 thanks to his victory.
Other championship hopefuls included Daniel Suarez (12th), Brennan Poole (13th), Ryan Sieg (15th), Brendan Gaughan (16th) and Ryan Reed (19th).
Qualifying for the Drive Sober 200 is set for Saturday morning at 11:45 a.m., with live coverage on CNBC and the NBC Sports App.