Brad Keselowski ended Kurt Busch’s stay atop the Sprint Cup practice charts by turning in the fastest lap in final practice for tomorrow’s GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway.
The Team Penske driver led the way in “Happy Hour” with a lap of 178.547 mph in the No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford. Keselowski will now head back to Iowa Speedway to compete for Penske in tonight’s NASCAR Nationwide Series U.S. Cellular 250.
His lap was just enough to claim top honors over Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon, whose best lap of 178.536 mph was three one-hundredths of a second off Keselowski.
Gordon figures to be a threat in tomorrow’s main event from the fifth starting position, but said that he’s still searching for a bit of speed that can help him in the event of a restart.
When the Sprint Cup Series visited Pocono in June, Gordon finished eighth but was hampered by not being able to retain track position on several restarts.
“We just need a little bit of that get-up speed,” Gordon told ESPN. “We saw some guys that could really take off fast and we know that restarts are gonna be crucial again. That’s kind of what hurt us the last time we were here, so we’re just searching for that in fine-tuning.
“The car has been awesome and we’re really consistent. Our fastest laps are Laps 3 and 4 [in a run], and we’d like our first lap to be a little bit better so we can really make up some spots on the restarts.”
Kyle Busch’s lap of 178.246 mph in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was good for third-quickest in the session. “Rowdy” was followed by Kevin Harvick (178.154) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (177.830).
Harvick also had the best consecutive 10-lap average, while Earnhardt cracked the Top 5 despite dealing with a vibration issue on his No. 88 car.