Kyle Busch paces final NASCAR Cup practice at Pocono

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Kyle Busch paces final NASCAR Cup practice at Pocono
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Jun 2, 2018, 4:27 PM

Kyle Busch, who earned the most recent Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at Pocono Raceway, led the way in Saturday’s final practice session.

Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Red White & Blue
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Red White & Blue
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Red White & Blue
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Comcast Salute to Service Juniper
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Lowe's for Pros crew
Daniel Suarez, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry ARRIS
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Lowe's for Pros

Busch posted his fast lap (174.588 mph) on his first lap on the track in the 1 hour, 20-minute session. Busch starts fifth in Sunday’s Pocono 400.

“It’s certainly been pretty good last few races here at Pocono, being the defending winner of the fall race. You know, it certainly is pretty cool to come back here and try to do it again, especially after last week, and the momentum that we’ve kind of had on our side for the year, and especially from last week,” Busch said.

“Every week is a new week. Every week is different. We always just try to keep improving and continuing to build up our performance and keep it going for the rest of this regular season.”

Kevin Harvick was second-fastest (174.115 mph) and Martin Truex Jr. was third (173.953 mph). Alex Bowman and Aric Almirola both jumped to the fourth and fifth positions late in the session.

Completing the Top were Kyle Larson, pole-winner Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano and Jamie McMurray.

Midway through the session, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun off Turn 2 but kept his No. 17 Ford off the wall.

“We’ve been really loose, really all weekend. Yesterday, we were looking for handling and speed but I felt like we’ve closed the gap on the Top 10 on speed, now we’re just trying to find the handling,” he said.

“We’ve been a little bit loose, a little bit tight. I feel like I never really practice well here. At Pocono, we race a little better than we practice. We’ll see. We’re trying to get some more speed in it.”

Stenhouse ended up 19th fastest.

Three drivers had to sit out the final 15 minutes of practice – Cole Custer and Derrike Cope (late to qualifying inspection) and Daniel Suarez (failed qualifying inspection twice).

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 33 51.550     174.588
2 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 36 51.690 0.140 0.140 174.115
3 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 30 51.738 0.188 0.048 173.953
4 88 united_states Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 40 51.826 0.276 0.088 173.658
5 10 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 42 51.853 0.303 0.027 173.568
6 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 37 51.885 0.335 0.032 173.461
7 12 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 32 51.915 0.365 0.030 173.360
8 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 38 51.922 0.372 0.007 173.337
9 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 49 51.924 0.374 0.002 173.330
10 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 44 51.955 0.405 0.031 173.227
11 9 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 34 51.960 0.410 0.005 173.210
12 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 31 51.964 0.414 0.004 173.197
13 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 34 51.984 0.434 0.020 173.130
14 20 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 34 52.067 0.517 0.083 172.854
15 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 27 52.082 0.532 0.015 172.804
16 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 40 52.112 0.562 0.030 172.705
17 21 united_states Paul Menard  Ford 29 52.159 0.609 0.047 172.549
18 24 united_states William Byron  Chevrolet 32 52.170 0.620 0.011 172.513
19 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 26 52.173 0.623 0.003 172.503
20 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 26 52.190 0.640 0.017 172.447
21 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 25 52.254 0.704 0.064 172.236
22 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 30 52.363 0.813 0.109 171.877
23 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 24 52.450 0.900 0.087 171.592
24 6 united_states Matt Kenseth  Ford 26 52.480 0.930 0.030 171.494
25 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 24 52.482 0.932 0.002 171.487
26 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 17 52.482 0.932 0.000 171.487
27 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 22 52.504 0.954 0.022 171.416
28 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 35 52.520 0.970 0.016 171.363
29 95 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 24 52.568 1.018 0.048 171.207
30 51 united_states Cole Custer  Chevrolet 33 52.681 1.131 0.113 170.840
31 34 united_states Michael McDowell  Ford 19 52.821 1.271 0.140 170.387
32 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 22 52.984 1.434 0.163 169.863
33 15 united_states Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 15 53.648 2.098 0.664 167.760
34 00 united_states Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 17 53.803 2.253 0.155 167.277
35 72 united_states Cole Whitt  Chevrolet 15 53.931 2.381 0.128 166.880
36 23 united_states Gray Gaulding  Toyota 10 54.082 2.532 0.151 166.414
37 7 united_states J.J. Yeley  Chevrolet 10 54.350 2.800 0.268 165.593
38 99 united_states Derrike Cope  Chevrolet 15 54.702 3.152 0.352 164.528
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About this article

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