Keselowski leads opening Cup practice at Talladega
Brad Keselowski, who has won two of the last six races at Talladega Superspeedway, posted the fastest single-lap speed in first practice on Friday morning.
Keselowski’s best time in the draft was 70.265-seconds after 27 laps.
Kurt Busch was second quick followed by Ryan Blaney, spring Talladega winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, Danica Patrick, Joey Logano and Kasey Kahne.
Austin Dillon (P14) completed 32 circuits, the most during the 55-minute session.
Blaney led the Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average category with a speed of 196.829mph followed by Logano, Almirola, Keselowski, Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Erik Jones, Suarez, Kahne and Truex.
Twenty-two cars had completed at least one lap when Jimmie Johnson spun off of Turn 4 after cutting a left-rear tire on his first run. NASCAR called a caution just before eight minutes into the session.
“Popped a tire going into (turn) three and looking at some photos here a second ago, it looked like the tire was already soft down the back straightaway," Johnson said. "I guess I ran something over on the apron getting up to speed, and made, oh I don’t know, maybe a third of a lap and was spun out which is really bizarre.”
Practice returned to green eight minutes later with Denny Hamlin P1 (194.682mph). Brad Keselowski (197.859mph) shot to the top of the leader board moments later as a pack of 13 Fords gathered in the draft. Kurt Busch was second followed by Blaney, Stenhouse, Harvick, Bowyer, Almirola, Patrick, Logano, Landon Cassill, David Ragan, Matt DiBenedetto and Trevor Bayne. At the 30-minute mark, NASCAR released Martin Truex Jr., who had a 30-minute practice hold — plus will serve an additional 15minutes in Happy Hour. AJ Allmendinger, who also had a total of 45-minutes in the penalty box, was released shortly after.
Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Blaney, Stenhouse, Harvick, Bowyer, Almirola, Patrick and Logano remained in the top nine with Austin Dillon coming in at 10th with a lap of196.685mph.
The Toyotas comprised the next drafting pack with Hamlin (196.746mph) and Truex (196.057mph) posting the top speeds. Kasey Kahne jumped in the group and moved up to 10th (197.082mph). Ty Dillon (196.746mph) moved up to 11th.
With five minutes remaining, the second caution was called for debris on the race track. The top nine remained the same with Kahne tenth followed by Ty Dillon, Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch, Truex, Matt Kenseth, Erik Jones, Bayne and Daniel Suarez.
|4||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||24||48.422||0.024||0.009||197.761|
|13||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||28||48.678||0.280||0.006||196.721|
|16||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||17||48.843||0.445||0.058||196.057|
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Kahne and Earnhardt lead final practice at Talladega
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|Article type||Practice report|