Eight-time Dover winner Jimmie Johnson’s lap at 158.863 miles per hour was enough to top final practice for tomorrow’s FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway.
Johnson, who won at the Monster Mile last fall on his way to a sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup title, was followed by Sunday’s polesitter, Brad Keselowski.
The Team Penske driver was quickest in this morning’s practice and in the afternoon, his lap at 158.270 miles per hour was good for second.
Richard Childress Racing’s Ryan Newman was third-quickest (158.263), while Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin took his FedEx/Autism Speaks car to fourth (158.193). Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing was fifth (157.798).
“I feel like we’re close,” Hamlin told Fox Sports about his Toyota’s performance in ‘Happy Hour.’ “We’re not a winning car but we’re close to where the balance needs to be. We still need a tenth or two of speed, but when the balance is good and it feels good for me, we usually race pretty well.”
A.J. Allmendinger, Carl Edwards, Brian Vickers, Paul Menard, and Kyle Larson completed the Top 10, and Harvick once again had the best consecutive 10-lap average (Laps 1-10, 156.378).
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES AT DOVER – FINAL PRACTICE TIMES
Brendon Hartley says scoring a point on his Formula 1 debut would be “a dream” after being resigned to last place on the grid for the United States Grand Prix following an engine penalty.
Porsche factory driver Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso to replace Pierre Gasly for the USGP when the Frenchman was ruled out due to clashing commitments in Super Formula.
Despite having not driven an F1 car since 2012, Hartley came within one-tenth of a second of making it through to Q2 on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas, ultimately qualifying 18th.
“Obviously I’d love to be quicker but we knew we were starting at the back, so we put a lot of focus on long runs, getting the peak performance out of this Pirelli tire I didn’t get today,” Hartley told NBCSN after the race.
“In FP3 I had a good feeling. There’s a lot of quirky things to manage with these tires. Honestly I should be happy with how the weekend’s gone so far.”
The New Zealander will start last due to a 25-place grid penalty for changes made to his power unit ahead of practice on Friday, and is daring to dream of making the top 10 in his first race out of a sports car for more than five years.
“I don’t do the 24 hours completely alone!” Hartley joked. “It’s quick. It’s physical to drive. I’ll be happy to be done after an hour and a half.
“A point would be a dream starting from the back. If I can move forward and put a race together, I’ll be happy.”
The United States Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.