The Tricky Triangle proved to be a challenge for some in first practice.
Kevin Harvick posted the fastest lap in the first Sprint Cup practice at Pocono Raceway on Friday with a lap of 176.932mph.
His Stewart-Haas Racing teammate/co-owner Tony Stewart wasn’t so lucky. Thirty-five minutes into the session, Stewart lost control of the No. 14 Chevy as he was exiting Turn 2. The car went sideways, then nose-first into the inside retaining wall.
“I got loose on the exit of it and couldn’t catch it,” Stewart said. “So, Driver error.”
Stewart had completed 12 laps. His fastest circuit was 173.207 mph. Stewart returned to the track nearly 50 minutes later and completed an additional lap.
I’m really concerned about the cars. I’m not really sure the cars are going to be able to sustain this for a 400-mile race
Kyle Busch (176.772), Carl Edwards (176.717mph), defending winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. (176.564mph), Austin Dillon (176.561mph) and Denny Hamlin (176.547mph) rounded out the top-six on the speed chart.
Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman completed the top 12 in quick laps.
Sam Hornish Jr. also spun six minutes into the session. Hornish had completed his fourth lap when he lost control of the No. 9 Ford in Turn 1. He ended up 29th in practice.
Brad Keselowski, who won the 2011 July race, posted the seventh-fastest lap during the session but was concerned by the condition of the race track which he described as “so, so, rough out there”. Keselowski added he didn't feel like “a pavement racer, but a Baja buggy racer.”
“You’re just going to have to get through it,” Keselowski said. “I’m really concerned about the cars. I’m not really sure the cars are going to be able to sustain this for a 400-mile race.
“It’s just another variable. It’s the same for everyone — which is the good part. But whoever figures it out, is going to be the guy to beat come Sunday.”