Keselowski leads final Southern 500 practice at Darlington
Brad Keselowski recovered from his Darlington stripe in the first practice to set the top speed in Happy Hour — 174.649mph.
Keselowski completed five runs for a total of 51 laps. The driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford, who started last year’s Southern 500 from the pole and finished second, is still looking for his first victory at Darlington Raceway.
Kurt Busch was second quick in single lap runs with a speed of 174.031mph, followed by Jimmie Johnson 174.019mph, Kasey Kahne (173.656mph), Paul Menard (173.454mph) and Greg Biffle (173.234mph). Johnson’s 74 laps were the most completed in final practice.
Defending Southern 500 winner Carl Edwards was the fastest Toyota (172.826mph) in the single lap run category. After he completed his final run, he told the crew he was “a little tight, center off.” Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (172.687mph), Denny Hamlin (172.586mph) and Trevor Bayne (172.505mph) rounded out the top 10. Ryan Blaney (P11, 172.505mph) was the fastest rookie.
“Good job today, guys,” Blaney said following the 80-minute session. “Appreciate it.”
After just 16 laps, Kyle Larson picked up a Darlington stripe. Ditto Kyle Busch on his 23rd lap.
"If anything, it felt looser," Kyle Busch after slapping the wall. His best lap was 29th on the speed chart.
Greg Biffle’s 170.536mph was the Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average. Biffle has two wins at the Lady in Black in 15 career starts.
Martin Truex Jr. (170.449mph), Johnson (170.429mph), Kasey Kahne (170.352mph) and Edwards (169.898mph) were the top five in the category followed by Jeff Gordon (169.806mph), Kyle Larson (169.559mph), Ryan Newman (169.371mph), Denny Hamlin (169.216mph) and Austin Dillon (169.215mph).
|8||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||44||28.477||0.320||0.023||172.687|
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