For the second straight week, Hendrick Motorsports had a rough practice in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition. Last weekend in New Hampshire, Alex Bowman crashed twice and had a major mechanical issue. He went through both of his cars and had to use Jimmie Johnson’s backup car in the race. Also, William Byron crashed and had to go to his backup as well.
Furthermore, Kyle Larson crashed and would have to go to a backup which affects Hendrick because Chip Ganassi Racing gets their engines from HMS.
Well, for a second consecutive week, it happened again.
In the first of two practice sessions on Saturday from the Pocono Raceway, Chevrolet had two separate practice crashes. Larson found the wall again in his No. 42 Chevrolet. Minutes later, it was Chase Elliott’s turn in his No. 9 Chevrolet. Both would have to go to backup cars.
It wasn’t a strong start to the weekend for either.
Elliott, was only 14th and 26th respectively on the speed charts in the two sessions. Larson, was only 21st and 24th respectively. Both drivers have been strong at Pocono in the past with Elliott scoring five consecutive top 10 finishes at the Tricky Triangle and six in seen tries. He was seventh in this race last year and fourth back in June.
Larson, was runner-up in June 2018 and led 35 laps back in June. Now, both have a long way to go in Sunday’s Gander RV 400 (3 p.m. ET/NBCSN/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Alex Bowman also struggled on Saturday. He was only 20th and 21st respectively in practice in his No. 88 Chevrolet.
But, their other two teammates were strong. Jimmie Johnson was sixth in both practice sessions in his No. 48 Chevrolet and seventh in final practice on the 10 lap average chart. While he has scored just one top five at Pocono since 2013, he looks like he could be a contender.
So does William Byron. He won the pole this past June and finished ninth. He was sixth in this race last year. He’s had a ton of speed in his No. 24 Chevrolet since May and Saturday further proved that.
Byron, was second and fourth respectively in practice on Saturday including being quickest in final practice too.