After leading yesterday’s first Sprint Cup practice and then qualifying fourth for Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400, Stewart Haas Racing’s Kurt Busch was quickest in this morning’s second Cup practice at Pocono Raceway with a lap of 178.859 miles per hour.
It’s been an uneven first season at SHR for Busch, who put himself into the Chase picture with a win at Martinsville but has been in the lower reaches of the Top 30 in the standings ever since.
But the Outlaw believes that things are picking up in the 41 garage.
“We’ve got a fast Chevy and that’s what it’s all about, putting yourself in position,” Busch told ESPN. “And [crew chief] Daniel [Knost] and all the guys back at the shop have been working hard. This year, we’ve been hot and even ice cold, so Daniel and the guys at the shop keep plugging away to find new things that will help my balance with the car.
“…It’s just a matter of each week learning and growing as a team, and we haven’t quite matured at the level we hoped we would. But here we are – we’re coming back around these tracks a second time and I’m feeling good about it.”
Following him was Richard Childress Racing’s Ryan Newman, who qualified a disappointing 21st but was second-fastest in Practice 2 with a lap of 178.430 mph. Newman currently sits 13th on the Chase Grid (+47 points over 16th place), but is still searching for his own regular season win that can get him over the top.
“[We had a] really disappointing day yesterday to be 21st…[But] we felt like we were really good in race trim yesterday and proved it again today,” Newman told ESPN. “I guess that’s all we’ve got left this weekend is race trim. We’ll see if we can have a good car tomorrow.”
Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano were quick once again in Practice 2, placing third and fourth respectively (Keselowski with a 178.398; Logano with a 178.232). Another SHR driver, Kevin Harvick, was fifth (178.211). Sunday’s polesitter, Kyle Larson, was 18th (177.434) on the time sheets.
Sprint Cup final practice will run later this morning at 11:30 a.m. ET.