DiBenedetto, Hamlin lead Bristol practices

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DiBenedetto, Hamlin lead Bristol practices

Matt DiBenedetto continued to exhibit speed as his No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Toyota led final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday after turning a fast lap of 128.848 mph.

DiBenedetto also was fourth-fastest in first practice at the .533-mile track just a couple hours earlier.

RELATED: Final practice results

Ryan Blaney recorded the second-fastest practice lap of 128.245 mph before he said he lost power steering in his No. 12 Team Penske Ford about eight minutes ahead of when practice was scheduled to end. Smoke billowed from the back of the No. 12, and his team evaluated the car afterward to determine its viability for qualifying.

Blaney, meanwhile, exited his car gingerly, holding his right shoulder — but said it was not a significant injury.

“When it (power steering) blows out like that, it was an instant snap,” Blaney told NBCSN. “Not sure what I did to my shoulder, but I just needed a second. Good thing we didn’t hit the wall or anything. … Luckily it happened now and not in the middle of the race.”

NASCAR added 12 minutes to what was a scheduled 50-minute practice session after a lengthy cleanup was needed from the No. 12’s power steering loss.

Aric Almirola in the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford was third at 128.228 mph. Chase Elliott in the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (128.219 mph) and Alex Bowman in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (128.168 mph) completed the top five.

Matt Tifft had vertigo symptoms after first practice at the .533-mile track, and visited the infield care center. Chase Briscoe drove the No. 36 Front Row Motorsports Ford in final practice, and Tifft will be evaluated before qualifying.

Monster Energy Series Busch Pole Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 5:35 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App).

FIRST PRACTICE

Denny Hamlin topped the leaderboard in the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice Friday, recording a fast lap of 128.606 mph in his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Hamlin, who has finished in the top five in each of the last five Monster Energy Series races, led three Joe Gibbs Racing cars in the top five in the 50-minute practice session in preparation for Saturday’s Bristol Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

RELATED: First practice results

Erik Jones, who led both Xfinity Series practice sessions Thursday, was second-fastest in the No. 20 JGR Toyota (128.151 mph), while teammate Kyle Busch, an eight-time winner at Bristol, was fifth-fastest in the No. 18 Toyota (127.597 mph).

Joey Logano was the lone Ford in the top five, recording a lap of 127.852 mph in the No. 22 Team Penske car for the third spot on the leaderboard. Matt DiBenedetto was fourth in the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Toyota (127.648 mph).