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Saturday Pocono Sprint Cup practice recaps

August 02, 2014, Staff report,

Kurt Busch tops two of three practice sessions; Keselowski fastest in final


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Final Sprint Cup Series practice | Results

After seeing a victory slip through his fingers less than two months ago at the Tricky Triangle, Brad Keselowski looks poised to challenge for win No. 4 of the season this weekend as he topped final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Pocono Raceway.

The Team Penske driver led the final session with a best speed of 178.547 mph, achieved on the 10th of his 21 laps around the 2.5-mile triangle. Jeff Gordon was hot on his tail, pulling into the garage second on the leaderboard with a speed of 178.536.

Kyle Busch (178.246), Kevin Harvick (178.154) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (177.830), who passed Keselowski late to win June's Pocono race, rounded out the top five.

Coors Light Pole Award winner Kyle Larson just missed that distinction, placing sixth with a best speed of 177.809. He was followed by Jimmie Johnson (177.788) and Kurt Busch (177.634), who took the first two practices of the weekend for Sunday's GoBowling.com400 (1 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Early in the session Austin Dillon hit the wall hard, taking major damage. His No. 3 Chevrolet team worked on his ride in the garage and the rookie got back on the track to complete 16 laps and place 24th with a best speed of 175.747.

Sprint Cup Series practice 2 | Results

Kurt Busch may have found something at Pocono Raceway on Saturday that his No. 41 Chevrolet team has been lacking all season -- consistency.

Fresh off topping the leaderboard in opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice on Friday, the 2004 series champion once again bested the field in the 50-minute session Saturday, running his 15th of 23 laps at a 178.859 mph clip to top Ryan Newman's 178.430.

Busch also qualified fourth for Sunday's 400 (1 p.m. ET, ESPN) and has positioned himself among the weekend's elite, which should give him a great opportunity to pick up his first win since March.

Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski (178.398) and Joey Logano (178.232) followed Newman, with Busch's Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick rounding out the top five with a speed of 178.211.

Jimmie Johnson was next on the charts at 178.006, and his sixth-place showing in Saturday's early practice is a vast improvement from his Friday results, when he placed 30th in practice (176.623) and qualified 17th (180.502).

The rest of the top 10 was occupied by Jeff Gordon (177.982), Carl Edwards (177.968), Kyle Busch (177.834) and Tony Stewart (177.834).

Coors Light Pole Award winner Kyle Larson, the first NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate to earn such an honor, placed 18th with a speed of 177.434.

Final practice will begin at 11:30 a.m. ET with coverage on ESPN2.


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