Harvick fastest again in Happy Hour practice at Pocono

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Second Freaky Fast verse, same as the first.

Just like he did in the early morning practice, Kevin Harvick paced Saturday’s final NASCAR Sprint Cup happy hour practice at Pocono Raceway.

Harvick’s top speed in the final session for Sunday’s Pocono 400 was 175.606 mph, followed by outside pole-sitter Kurt Busch (175.545 mph), Jimmie Johnson (175.452), Tony Stewart, (175.370) and Ryan Newman (175.145).

Right after recording the fastest lap of all competitors, Harvick came back into the garage fearing a motor issue in his Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet.

As it turned out, it was not a motor problem: fluid from the transmission leaked. The team repaired the problem and Harvick was able to get back on the racetrack before the practice session ended.

“The car was real fast, we just have to put a whole day together,” Harvick told Fox Sports. “Right now, it’s running pretty good. … I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Harvick has never won a Sprint Cup race at Pocono.

Midway through the session, Newman told his team over the radio that he may have missed a shift, which could have damaged the motor, but he was able to continue on without any incident.

Sixth through 10th-fastest were Dale Earnhardt Jr. (175.073), Brad Keselowski (174.808), Matt Kenseth (174.618), Jeff Gordon (174.388) and pole-sitter Denny Hamlin (174.304).

Earnhardt fought a vibration issue through the entire session, but told Fox Sports that he expects his team will find the issue and fix it. If not, Earnhardt said he’s prepared to go through the race with the problem. The problem originally arose in the first practice of the day, prompting his team to change transmissions, but that did not resolve the issue.

Other key drivers included Danica Patrick, 11th-fastest (174.206 mph), Kyle Larson (174.109), Kyle Busch was 21st-fastest (173.779), Joey Logano was right behind his former teammate (173.564) and Clint Bowyer was 25th (173.254).

Richard Petty Motorsports driver Aric Almirola suffered motor failure during the final practice. His team will have to change motors, leaving Almirola to start Sunday’s race from the rear of the 43-car field.

The only driver who did not go out for the final practice was Timmy Hill.

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Montoya: ‘Hopefully I get a chance to do Indy again’ (VIDEO)

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Juan Pablo Montoya is on site at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, his latest trip in a summer and fall filled with a lot of international travel and a number of different race cars he’s been in.

Montoya is committed to a full season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Acura Team Penske in 2018, as he’ll share one of the team’s Acura ARX-05s with Dane Cameron.

However, the question of whether he’ll be able to race in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil remains.

Team Penske has said it plans to only run four cars next month of May, with Helio Castroneves as the fourth driver alongside the three full-time cars driven by Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power.

While Montoya has said elsewhere that he’s shopping offers and has talked with other teams, it’d be highly surprising to see the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion who developed the Chevrolet engine for IndyCar’s 2018 Dallara universal body kit in a Honda-powered IndyCar, although he is running Honda’s brand (Acura) in sports cars.

Montoya elaborated on his Indy 500 prospects in an interview with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton at the Circuit of The Americas.

“Not full-time no,” Montoya told NBCSN of his IndyCar 2018 prospects. “Hopefully I get a chance to go to Indy, hopefully with Penske, (and) if not someone else. We’ll see.”

Photo: IndyCar

Montoya has extolled the early testing both on the 2018 IndyCar and on the Acura ARX-05.

The first Acura chassis has run at Road Atlanta and Sebring International Raceway thus far, and will be put through its paces at other venues over the next few months.

“It’s been good. We did a lot of work with INDYCAR on that car. Fans are gonna like it,” Montoya said of the 2018 kit.

“Going to IMSA with the Acura program, we’ve done a lot of testing. It’s a beauty to drive. It drives better than what it looks! I haven’t had that much fun driving a race car in a long time.”

Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype international (DPi) race car to be campaigned by Team Penske in 2018