Kevin Harvick tops Erik Jones in Saturday's first practice at Pocono

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Kevin Harvick tops Erik Jones in Saturday's first practice at Pocono
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Jul 28, 2018, 2:01 PM

Fresh off his victory at New Hampshire, Kevin Harvick was fastest in Saturday’s first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Pocono Raceway.

Harvick, who now has a series-high six wins this seasons, has never won at Pocono. He topped the leaderboard with an average lap speed of 174.965 mph, which he set very early in the 55-minute session.

“Rodney (Childers, crew chief) and the organization itself has put a lot of effort into this particular weekend trying to get to Victory Lane and take that race off the list,” Harvick said.

“It’s a place I enjoy going – not so much the place I enjoyed going in my previous life before I came to Stewart-Haas Racing. It was never a track we ran very well at, but we’ve come to find out that if you have the cars where they need to be and the people around you, things are much different.”

Erik Jones ended up second-fastest (174.931 mph) and Ryan Blaney was third (174.402 mph). Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer completed the top-five.

“I'm a little bit loose into (Turn) 3, a little bit loose off of (Turn) 3 but I'm tight off of (Turn) 1,” Hamlin said over his radio after moving up to second at one point. “I'm still tight center of (Turn) 3, so I can't pick up the gas as soon as I want, when I do, that's when I kind of spin the back out loose, late exit.”

Rounding out the Top 10 were William Byron, Kyle Busch, Daniel Suarez, Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott.

About 14 minutes into the session, J.J. Yeley spun off Turn 2 but was able to keep his No. 23 Toyota off the wall.

Brad Keselowski reported electrical problems on his No. 2 Ford about 18 minutes into the session and completed just one lap before he returned to the garage.

“I went to one battery and it seems to be trying to work here,” he said over his team radio. “It shut back off. I have power but it last for three seconds tops.”

Keselowski was able to return to the track with about 17 minutes left in the session. He ended up 18th fastest and completed nine laps.

Five drivers – Harvick, Hamlin, Byron, Chris Buescher and B.J. McLeod – were forced to sit out the final 15 minutes of practice because they failed pre-race inspection twice last weekend at New Hampshire.

Reed Sorenson sat out the final 15 minutes of practice for being late to pre-qualifying inspection at Chicagoland.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 7 51.439     174.965
2 20 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 12 51.449 0.010 0.010 174.931
3 12 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 6 51.605 0.166 0.156 174.402
4 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 16 51.776 0.337 0.171 173.826
5 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 13 51.902 0.463 0.126 173.404
6 24 united_states William Byron  Chevrolet 14 51.927 0.488 0.025 173.320
7 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 12 51.932 0.493 0.005 173.304
8 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 13 51.975 0.536 0.043 173.160
9 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 9 51.992 0.553 0.017 173.104
10 9 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 16 52.013 0.574 0.021 173.034
11 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 18 52.034 0.595 0.021 172.964
12 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 12 52.042 0.603 0.008 172.937
13 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 15 52.043 0.604 0.001 172.934
14 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 17 52.065 0.626 0.022 172.861
15 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 21 52.080 0.641 0.015 172.811
16 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 11 52.099 0.660 0.019 172.748
17 10 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 13 52.162 0.723 0.063 172.539
18 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 9 52.177 0.738 0.015 172.490
19 88 united_states Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 22 52.218 0.779 0.041 172.354
20 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 10 52.348 0.909 0.130 171.926
21 21 united_states Paul Menard  Ford 10 52.373 0.934 0.025 171.844
22 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 9 52.429 0.990 0.056 171.661
23 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 13 52.500 1.061 0.071 171.429
24 34 united_states Michael McDowell  Ford 13 52.535 1.096 0.035 171.314
25 6 united_states Matt Kenseth  Ford 10 52.557 1.118 0.022 171.243
26 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 9 52.595 1.156 0.038 171.119
27 95 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 10 52.644 1.205 0.049 170.960
28 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 11 52.648 1.209 0.004 170.947
29 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 16 52.877 1.438 0.229 170.206
30 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 13 52.993 1.554 0.116 169.834
31 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 10 53.146 1.707 0.153 169.345
32 15 united_states Gray Gaulding  Chevrolet 5 53.748 2.309 0.602 167.448
33 96 united_states Jeffrey Earnhardt  Toyota 11 53.951 2.512 0.203 166.818
34 23 united_states J.J. Yeley  Toyota 5 54.088 2.649 0.137 166.396
35 7 united_states Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 3 54.189 2.750 0.101 166.085
36 72 united_states Corey Lajoie  Chevrolet 13 54.316 2.877 0.127 165.697
37 00 united_states Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 6 54.359 2.920 0.043 165.566
38 99 united_states Kyle Weatherman  Chevrolet 10 54.988 3.549 0.629 163.672
39 51 united_states B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 5 55.104 3.665 0.116 163.328

 

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Pocono
Location Pocono Raceway
Drivers Kevin Harvick
Teams Stewart-Haas Racing
Author Jim Utter
Article type Practice report