Kyle Busch leads final practice at Pocono

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Kyle Busch leads final practice at Pocono
Lee Spencer
By: Lee Spencer
Jun 10, 2017, 4:36 PM

Kyle Busch continued to lead the Monster Energy Cup Series tour in Happy Hour on Saturday.

After winning his third pole at Pocono Raceway on Friday, Busch was fastest in final practice as well.

Martin Truex Jr., (174.071mph) was the first car out on the track, but Busch quickly established the fast lap of 175.421mph on his second lap which held up during the entire session.

“Lately, we’ve certainly been better,” Busch said of the 2.5-mile tricky triangle. “I’ve had some second-place finishes and third-place finishes, so I feel like I’ve figured it out better there lately.

“With the way our cars at JGR have been overall, I’m very optimistic that we could score a victory there this weekend or, if not, when we come back later in the summer with our M&M’S Red, White, and Blue Camry.”

Brad Keselowski was second followed by Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Joey Logano.

Initially, Larson was second with a speed of 175.210mph. While Larson was working his 10th laps, he spun sideway in Turn 2 and barely collected Kyle Busch just before the 10-minute mark. Busch was still leading the session with Larson second followed by Ryan Newman, Harvick, Logano, Kahne, Keselowski, Bowyer, Blaney and Paul Menard.

Denny Hamlin, who leads the tour with four wins at Pocono, had completed nine laps prior to the caution along with Busch. Thirty-five of 39 cars had established times. The track returned to green seven minutes later.

Twenty minutes in, Kurt Busch jumped up to third with a lap of 174.910mph in his initial run.

“It seems squishy soft on hard braking,” Busch said. “There’s a lot of roll in the front.”
Newman remained fourth followed Harvick. Harvick then bounced around Busch with a speed of 175.050mph. Moments later, Hamlin ran picked up speed and drilled the back of the No. 31 Chevy. Both cars continued on.

Kyle Busch remained atop the board midway through the session followed by Larson, Harvick, Chase Elliott (174.944mph), Kurt Busch, Newman, Kasey Kahne (174.710mph), Joey Logano (174.710mph), Keselowski and Matt Kenseth (174.605mph). Michael McDowell’s 19 laps were the most completed.

With 20-minutes remaining, many of the teams worked on pit-road speed — including

Keselowski climbed up to second (175.285mph) on sticker tires with just over 15-minutes remaining in the 55-minute session. Busch held onto P1 with Larson, Harvick and Elliott rounding out the top-five speeds.

NASCAR called a caution for debris at the start-finish line with 11 minutes to go in Happy Hour. Ten cars made a mad dash with less than 10-minutes to continue dialing in the cars. Most of the field followed suit. Four minutes later, Busch was sideways in Turn 3 while and nearly brushed the SAFER barrier as he completed his 24th lap.

Harvick’s 32 laps were the most completed in final practice.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 29 51.305     175.421
2 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 21 51.345 0.040 0.040 175.285
3 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 28 51.367 0.062 0.022 175.210
4 24 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 21 51.406 0.101 0.039 175.077
5 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 32 51.414 0.109 0.008 175.050
6 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 23 51.455 0.150 0.041 174.910
7 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 22 51.456 0.151 0.001 174.907
8 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 27 51.459 0.154 0.003 174.897
9 5 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 28 51.514 0.209 0.055 174.710
10 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 20 51.514 0.209 0.000 174.710
11 20 united_states Matt Kenseth  Toyota 23 51.545 0.240 0.031 174.605
12 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 21 51.550 0.245 0.005 174.588
13 77 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 20 51.552 0.247 0.002 174.581
14 21 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 20 51.601 0.296 0.049 174.415
15 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 10 51.636 0.331 0.035 174.297
16 27 united_states Paul Menard  Chevrolet 20 51.693 0.388 0.057 174.105
17 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 27 51.694 0.389 0.001 174.101
18 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 26 51.721 0.416 0.027 174.011
19 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 24 51.753 0.448 0.032 173.903
20 88 united_states Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Chevrolet 16 51.894 0.589 0.141 173.430
21 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 12 51.906 0.601 0.012 173.390
22 10 united_states Danica Patrick  Ford 27 51.939 0.634 0.033 173.280
23 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 20 51.964 0.659 0.025 173.197
24 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 18 52.004 0.699 0.040 173.064
25 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 19 52.021 0.716 0.017 173.007
26 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 17 52.034 0.729 0.013 172.964
27 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Ford 19 52.177 0.872 0.143 172.490
28 95 united_states Michael McDowell  Chevrolet 26 52.179 0.874 0.002 172.483
29 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 21 52.289 0.984 0.110 172.120
30 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 12 52.625 1.320 0.336 171.021
31 34 united_states Landon Cassill  Ford 23 52.871 1.566 0.246 170.226
32 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 19 53.023 1.718 0.152 169.738
33 83 united_states Corey Lajoie  Toyota 9 53.124 1.819 0.101 169.415
34 23 united_states Gray Gaulding  Toyota 15 53.274 1.969 0.150 168.938
35 72 united_states Cole Whitt  Chevrolet 11 53.356 2.051 0.082 168.678
36 15 united_states Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 15 53.467 2.162 0.111 168.328
37 33 united_states Jeffrey Earnhardt  Chevrolet 21 53.798 2.493 0.331 167.292
38 51 united_states Cody Ware  Chevrolet 13 54.363 3.058 0.565 165.554
39 55 united_states Derrike Cope  Chevrolet 11 55.050 3.745 0.687 163.488
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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Pocono
Location Pocono Raceway
Drivers Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing
Author Lee Spencer
Article type Practice report