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Saturday's Sprint Cup Series practice recaps

July 12, 2014, Staff report,

Brad Keselowski sweeps Saturday's sessions; Almirola to backup car

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Nobody was faster than Brad Keselowski on the track Saturday. In any series.

The driver swept both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practices at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in his No. 2 Team Penske Ford, leading the final session with a speed of 133.254 mph. No one else broke the 133 mph-barrier, not even when going to fresh tires at the end of practice.

And Keselowski's performance in final practice came an hour after he won the Coors Light Pole Award in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.


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Denny Hamlin was the only driver other than Keselowski to finish in the top five in both Saturday sessions. In the No. 11 Toyota, he followed his fourth-place effort earlier Saturday with a third-place finish in final practice with a speed of 132.739 mph.

Jeff Gordon jumped to second on the speed chart with a 132.771 mph lap late. He finished just above Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., who had struggled to find speed in his No. 88 Chevrolet all weekend. Earnhardt soared to fourth, with his speed of 132.526 mph coming on his 24th lap after crew chief Steve Letarte called for new tires.

Kevin Harvick finished fifth in his No. 4 Chevy with a speed of 132.512 mph on his 24th lap.

Jamie McMurray, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top 10 in the final on-track time before Sunday's Camping World RV Sales 301 (1 p.m. ET, TNT).

Joey Logano finished 21st in his backup car, and Aric Almirola finished 31st in his backup car. Almirola will start at the rear of the field Sunday.


Brad Keselowski led Saturday's first of two practices at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a planned 50-minute event that was shortened due to a single-car wreck for the second consecutive session.

On Friday, it was Joey Logano who hit the outside wall after a tire went down and needed his backup car. On Saturday, it was Aric Almirola's No. 43 Ford that was obliterated.

Almirola's team unloaded a backup car, and because this happened after qualfiying, he'll start from the rear of the field in Sunday's Camping World RV Sales 301.

Keselowski posted a top speed of 133.745 mph on his fourth lap of the morning. He's starting seventh in Sunday's race.

Jamie McMurray, who's been fast all weekend, had the second-quickest speed at 133.086 mph Saturday morning. Jeff Gordon followed in his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at 133.035 mph, followed by Denny Hamlin (132.901 mph) and Kyle Larson (132.868 mph).

Jimmie Johnson, who leads the series with three wins, was 10th with a speed of 132.572 mph.

Polesitter Kyle Busch logged a best lap of 132.158 mph, good for 19th on the board.


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