Friday practice session gives drivers the ‘right balance’

SONOMA, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 07: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #6 King's Hawaiian/Despicable Me 4 Ford, Alex Bowman, driver of the #48 Ally Pride Chevrolet, and Bubba Wallace, driver of the #23 Columbia Sportswear Company Toyota, drive during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 07, 2024 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Both the NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series got some rare extra time on the Sonoma Raceway road course – both series given 50-minute practices on Friday to help the drivers and teams acclimatize with the track’s new paving. And the vast majority of drivers were very receptive to the extra track time.

Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney set the fastest overall lap in practice, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Gibbs and Richard Childress Racing’s Brown, an Australian Supercars Series star who is making his series debut this weekend.

“I feel like so many things in this sport are extreme,” said 2012 NASCAR Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, owner/driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing Ford.

“When I came into this sport we had two days of practice, one day of testing every week and it was like, ‘that’s too much.’ And then it was, ‘okay, you’ll get none,’ and you’re like, whoa,” he said with a smile. “Can we find a spot in between?

“And this format that we have this weekend in Sonoma feels like the right balance. It’s refreshing. I do think having practice is important to the competitive balance of the series and important to our fans and our media rights partners and so forth. My position is unwavering with respect with wanting to see that materialize.”