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Cole Rouse, driver of the #99 NAPA Filters Toyota, was fastest overall in practice for the Bakersfield 175 presented by NAPA Auto Parts at Kern County Raceway Park on March 15, 2018 in Bakersfield, California. (Jonathan Moore/NASCAR via Getty Images)

PRACTICE: Cole Rouse Starts Fast At Kern

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Cole Rouse made an early statement Thursday.

The 20-year-old from Fort Smith, Arkansas, went to the top of the practice charts with a late run in the final session to post the fastest lap of the day as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West sets to open the season at Kern County Raceway Park.

Rouse’s lap of 18.354 around the half-mile in the No. 99 NAPA Filters Toyota bumped Kevin Harvick off the No. 1 spot. Harvick had put down a lao of 18.421 and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver settled for the second position.

David Mayhew was third in the final practice with a lap of 18.456, followed by Will Rodgers at 18.492.

Rouse’s teammate, Derek Kraus, who set fast time in first session at 18.547, was fifth overall with his final practice time of 18.515.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Austin Herzog was sixth, followed by Ryan Partridge, rookie Reid Lanpher, Kody Vanderwal and Rod Johnson Jr. The first nine fastest laps all came in the second of the 45-minute sessions.

Qualifying for the Bakersfield 175 presented by NAPA Auto Parts is coming up at 5:45 p.m., with the green flag scheduled for 8:15 p.m.