Brad Keselowski tops final Cup practice at Texas

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Coming off a Top-5 finish last weekend at Martinsville, Brad Keselowski topped today’s final practice session for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway with a lap of 189.440 miles per hour – just ahead of Chase for the Sprint Cup co-leader Matt Kenseth.

Kenseth (189.434 mph) had an altogether smoother “Happy Hour” than Jimmie Johnson, with whom he shares the championship lead going into Sunday’s pivotal race.

Johnson managed to turn in the 16th-quickest time (186.722 mph) after having to deal with a tire rub and then an issue with the accelerator on his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Paul Menard (189.168 mph) was third-quickest in final practice, followed by Texas spring winner Kyle Busch in fourth (188.937 mph) and Martin Truex Jr. (188.818 mph) in fifth. Truex was very strong at Texas back in April but lost the lead late to eventual winner Busch off the final round of pit stops.

In terms of best consecutive 10-lap averages, Kenseth was at the top as his first 10 laps of final practice averaged around 185.323 mph. Keselowski had the second-best average, followed by those of Johnson, Truex, and Kasey Kahne.

Earlier in the first Saturday practice run, Clint Bowyer led the way with a lap of 188.422 miles per hour. Busch, Keselowski, Truex, and Biffle completed the Top-5 in that particular session.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.