Perhaps feeling good after the announcement of sponsor Farmers Insurance staying on his No. 5 Chevy through 2017, Kasey Kahne threw down a lap of 203.332 miles per hour to lead today’s first Sprint Cup practice session at Michigan International Speedway.
Kahne was one of 21 drivers that broke the 200 mph mark in the opening session. He is looking for his first win of the season this weekend on the two-mile oval.
Chevrolet drivers made up the Top 7 fastest speeds this morning, with Kahne ahead of Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, rookie Austin Dillon, Jamie McMurray, and Jeff Gordon.
Earnhardt, a two-time winner at Michigan and the Sprint Cup Series’ most recent winner at Pocono, topped out at 202.943 mph in his No. 88 National Guard Chevy.
Team Penske driver and Michigan native Brad Keselowski led the Ford camp by posting a lap of 201.647 miles per hour this morning, good for eighth overall.
Defending Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson and Marcos Ambrose were ninth and 10th respectively.
Among the other notables: Ryan Newman completed his eventful morning by posting the 14th-fastest time (200.714 mph); Greg Biffle, who won at Michigan last June, was 22nd (199.989); father-to-be Kyle Larson was 24th (199.900); and IndyCar’s Juan Pablo Montoya was 37th (196.603) as he began his first NASCAR weekend of 2014.
The Cup contingent will now get ready for qualifying later this afternoon at 3:40 p.m. ET.
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES AT MICHIGAN – FRIDAY PRACTICE TIMES
MotoGP star Valentino Rossi has been discharged from hospital after suffering injuries in a motorcross accident earlier this week.
Nine-time motorcycling world champion Rossi was diagnosed with “mild thoracic and abdominal trauma” after the accident on Thursday morning, resulting in his admission to the Ospedale Infermi in Rimini, Italy.
The hospital noted in a statement that there were “no fractures detected in any part of the body and no serious traumatic pathologies”, with Rossi recovering overnight with pain relief.
On Friday, a further statement was issued confirming that Rossi had been discharged from hospital.
“Valentino Rossi has returned home from the Ospedale Infermi in Rimini, having successfully completed routine diagnostic tests that were scheduled earlier on Friday,” the statement reads.
“With the attending doctors confirming the findings shared in this morning‘s medical bulletin, the nine-time World Champion left the hospital at 5.30pm, accompanied by his staff.
“He will now continue the recovery process at home.”
The Yamaha rider’s next racing engagement comes next weekend with the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).
However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.
However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.
Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.
In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth.
On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).
Check out the above video.