Kurt, Kyle Busch top Pocono Cup practice
August 02, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com
Teams prepare for qualifying; Stenhouse hits the wall
LONG POND, Pa. -- With NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams focused on qualifying setups, Kurt Busch wound up on top of an oft-changing scoreboard Friday at Pocono Raceway.
The Furniture Row Racing driver turned the day’s fastest lap during practice with his 177.866 mph effort as teams began preparations for qualifying later today, as well as Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400.
Qualifying for the 43-car field is scheduled for 3:10 p.m.
Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing) made a late charge to log the second-best speed (177.680 mph).
Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton and Joey Logano completed the top five.
Sixth through 10th were Kasey Kahne, Marcos Ambrose, Indianapolis winner Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards.
Jimmie Johnson, the series’ points leader and winner of this year’s first stop at the 2.5-mile Pocono track, was 16th.
The session was slowed briefly when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. scraped the wall early, and again when Alex Kennedy stalled on the track.
Stenhouse was able to drive his car back to the garage and will not go to a backup.
“I had my hands full there,” the Roush Fenway Racing driver said.
“I didn’t downshift the first five laps through the tunnel turn but then I said, ‘Hey, I am going to downshift here and see if we can get a little extra speed.’ I downshifted a little too early and it jumped out from under me.”
The miscue means the Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate will be buying dinner for his RFR crew.
“I told them anytime I scrape the wall I owe them dinner,” he said, “so now I owe them another dinner.”