Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images
Alex Bowman set the tone in a groundbreaking practice session on Friday afternoon, clocking the fastest lap as NASCAR Cup Series drivers first made the rounds on the clay at Bristol Motor Speedway .
RELATED: Results of Practice 1 | Weekend schedule
Bowman pushed the No. 48 Chevrolet Hendrick Motorsports to a top speed of 89.308 mph on the half-mile track. The 50-minute session marked the opening of on-track activity ahead of Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM), the first Cup Series event on land since 1970.
Dirt expert Christopher Bell was second at 88.999 mph in the No. 20 Toyota, the first of three consecutive Joe Gibbs Racing entries behind Bowman. Kyle Busch placed third on the speed chart with teammate Denny Hamlin fourth and Hendrick’s Kyle Larson completing the top five.
The opening practice ended without major incident, with solo turns from Martin Truex Jr. and JJ Yeley (twice) among the few missteps. Truex is one of those Cup Series drivers who duplicate in Saturday’s Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM) for the Camping World Truck Series.
The Cup Final Series workouts are scheduled for Friday at 6:35 p.m. ET (FS1). The first of four qualifying races to set the starting lineup is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. ET (FS1).
This story will be updated.