Brad Keselowski leads Sprint Cup final practice at Pocono

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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.

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES AT POCONO – FINAL PRACTICE TIMES

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III