Kyle Busch leads final practice at Pocono
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.
|15||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||10||51.636||0.331||0.035||174.297|
|20||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||16||51.894||0.589||0.141||173.430|
|23||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||20||51.964||0.659||0.025||173.197|
|27||43||Darrell Wallace Jr.||Ford||19||52.177||0.872||0.143||172.490|
Kyle Busch takes Pocono pole over Truex
BK Racing and crew chief Patrick Donahue to part ways
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|Teams||Joe Gibbs Racing|