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

F1 Paddock Pass: United States Grand Prix post-race (VIDEO)

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As Lewis Hamilton took another step towards his fourth Formula 1 World Championship Sunday at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas, plenty of other topics of discussion emerged in the wake of Round 17 of the season from Austin.

Hamilton’s win came as his Mercedes AMG Petronas team claimed its fourth consecutive Constructor’s Championship, Scuderia Ferrari came up short once again despite a valiant effort in second and third, and Max Verstappen’s penalty after the race was the major talking point.

Elsewhere Valtteri Bottas struggled again, the Sahara Force India twins continued to pick up points, Carlos Sainz Jr. made a major positive impact in his first start with Renault, Brendon Hartley impressed on debut at Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean and Haas F1 Team endured a tough weekend on Haas’ home soil.

Check out all the recap from the latest USGP in the latest post-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton, below.