Driving the same NASCAR Nationwide Series car he’s won three times in already this year, Sprint Cup regular Brad Keselowski posted a lap of 72.123 seconds in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford to lead the first NNS practice at Watkins Glen International.
The one-hour, 20-minute session was held up for a little more than half an hour due to a cleanup of dropped fluid from the No. 74 car of Roger Reuse.
Practice resumed under green flag conditions with about 30 minutes to go and stayed green for the remainder despite Matt Kenseth lightly backing into the Turn 7 wall after a spin.
This came after Kenseth lost a significant amount of track time due to issues with the car; Fox Sports reported on its practice telecast that the fuel pump needed to be changed on Kenseth’s No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
“I guess it could always be worse,” Kenseth said. “We finally got the motor running right, so we just tried to make some laps there and try to figure out a balance we need to work on for the next practice and then I backed in the wall. Now they’ve got to fix the body…So, a little bit of a frustrating practice but we seem to have some speed.
“Thankfully, they can fix the car – didn’t totally kill it – so hopefully, we’ll get it fixed and get the full hour and a half of next practice and get ready to race tomorrow.”
Despite the incident, Kenseth still posted the fifth-fastest time in the session (72.644) behind Keselowski, Paul Menard (72.531), Marcos Ambrose (72.561), and Kyle Busch (72.629). Six of the Top 7 drivers in the session were Sprint Cup regulars, with Ty Dillon (72.699) being the fastest NNS regular in sixth.
NNS points leader Chase Elliott was eighth on the time charts (73.020). His closest pursuer in the standings, Regan Smith (-2 points behind Elliott), was 12th (120.331).
Fox also reported that rookie James Buescher would get an engine change on his No. 99 RAB Racing Toyota before the second Nationwide practice, which is slated to begin later today at 2:10 p.m. ET.