NASCAR: Kurt Busch tops Friday Cup practice at Pocono

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Kurt Busch posted a lap of 180.353 miles per hour to lead the way in this afternoon’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session for the GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway.

Qualifying is scheduled for 3:40 p.m. ET on the 2.5-mile “Tricky Triangle,” but rain is in the forecast for later today.

If that three-round session is rained out, then the grid will be set on today’s practice speeds with Busch starting Sunday’s main event from the pole position.

“It was good with our race runs and then to go to [qualifying] trim and still have that speed,” Busch told Fox Sports. “You gotta do it over three runs here now – it’s not just that one magic lap to try and sit on the pole.

“We were outside pole here though in June, and we want one spot better, so the Haas Automation Chevy’s fast right now.”

Following Busch in second and third during practice were the Team Penske/Ford duo of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.

Keselowski, who lost at Pocono in June when an attempt to have the lapped car of Danica Patrick clean his trash-covered grille went awry, topped out at 180.155 mph. Logano was close behind with his lap at 179.791 mph.

Cup rookie Kyle Larson was fourth-quickest with his lap of 179.508 mph for Chip Ganassi Racing, and Clint Bowyer led the Toyota camp with the fifth-quickest lap (179.372).

Kevin Harvick, A.J. Allmendinger, Brian Vickers, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Jamie McMurray made up Positions 6-10. Other notables from the session included Danica Patrick in 11th and Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon in 15th.

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES AT POCONO – FRIDAY PRACTICE TIMES

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”