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Pole-winner Matt Kenseth owns both practices

November 16, 2013, Staff report,

Homestead-Miami pole-winner continues finale momentum

RELATED: Lineup and results

HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Championship challenger Matt Kenseth made a clean sweep of Saturday's final two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practices, showing his strength on the eve of the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Kenseth, who won the Coors Light Pole Award in Friday qualifying, turned a lap of 173.700 mph in the next-to-last practice in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, then topped the final 50-minute practice at 171.980 mph as speeds dipped in the afternoon heat.

Series leader Jimmie Johnson, who leads Kenseth by 28 points entering Sunday's season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN), was right behind Kenseth in second place on the final practice leaderboard at 171.647 mph. He was further down the board in the earlier practice, ranking 15th in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Kevin Harvick, 34 points behind Johnson and the only other driver with a mathematical chance at the championship, was consistent at fifth-fastest in both Saturday practices as he prepares for his final ride in the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevy.

Brad Keselowski, whose reign as defending Sprint Cup champion will end Sunday evening, was third-fastest in final practice, just ahead of Martin Truex Jr. and Harvick in the final practice's top five. Defending race winner Jeff Gordon was 11th-fastest early and 14th-best late.

Kyle Busch, currently fourth in points, scraped the outside wall in between the third and fourth turns 27 minutes into the 55-minute first session, scuffing the right-rear fender of the No. 18 Gibbs Toyota. He returned to the track after some light repairs and ended the practice 13th on the early leaderboard and 18th on the final practice sheet.

Mark Martin, preparing for what is scheduled to be his 882nd and final Sprint Cup start, was ninth-fastest early and sixth-fastest late in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy, closing out his stint as a replacement for injured team owner/driver Tony Stewart.


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