The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is having a rare race weekend at the Pocono Raceway. They didn’t take to the track for the first time of the weekend until Saturday morning, as they had two practice sessions from the 2.5-mile track today.
On Sunday, race day, they will qualify in the morning, then race after, meaning today’s two practice sessions were the lone of the weekend.
In the first 55 minute practice, Matt Kenseth led the way with a lap of 176.077 mph in his No. 20 Toyota. Kenseth, was fast last weekend on a similar track at Indianapolis and is needing a victory to ensure his playoff hopes.
Being quick out of the gates on Saturday is a good sign.
Kyle Larson was second quick in his No. 42 Chevrolet with a speed of 175.957 mph. It was announced yesterday that Larson won’t have Target as his sponsorship for next season.
Rookie Erik Jones (175.415 mph) Kyle Busch (175.360 mph) and last years Pocono winner Chris Buescher (174.774 mph) rounded out the top five.
The only incident came for Stephen Leicht spinning on the track. Luckily, he never made any contact with the wall.
In final practice, Chip Ganassi Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing dominated the speed charts. Kyle Busch paced the way with a speed of 176.824 mph in his No. 18 Toyota. Busch, turned that lap in the final minutes of the 55-minute session.
Busch’s teammate of Denny Hamlin was fourth with a lap of 175.415 mph to give JGR two of the top four speeds.
But, CGR can say the same thing. Larson, was second quickest in the first practice and was second again in the final session. He turned a late lap of 175.908 mph in his No. 42 Chevrolet.
Larson’s teammate Jamie McMurray was third quick with a lap of 175.647 mph in his No. 1 Chevrolet. McMurray, needs a win in order to become playoff eligible, as he currently sits near the bubble right now on the playoff grid.
Chase Elliott (175.261 mph) rounded out the top five.