UPDATED: Kyle Busch fastest in Friday Sprint Cup practice, earns pole due to rain; Team Penske struggles to find speed

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UPDATE  (6 pm ET): Friday’s qualifying for Sunday’s MyAFibStory.com 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race has been washed out by rain. With Kyle Busch being fastest in the early afternoon practice session earlier in the day, he will start Sunday’s race from the pole. Ryan Newman will start on the outside pole.

“Practice went well for us,” Busch said. “Our guys got us to where we needed to be. … TRD made some improvements for this weekend’s race. There’s a lot of things that need to happen in the race Sunday for us to get off to a good start and carry for the next 10 weeks.”

 

ORIGINAL STORY

JOLIET, Ill. – Kyle Busch laid down the speed to beat in Friday’s first Sprint Cup practice at Chicagoland Speedway, turning a best lap in 21 circuits around the 1.5-mile track of 191.442 mph.

Only six of the 16 drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup were among the 10 fastest in the session. Qualifying is scheduled for later in the day at 6:45 pm ET.

However, rainstorms are predicted for later this afternoon and throughout the evening, which could play havoc not only with Sprint Cup qualifying but also tonight’s Camping World Truck Series race.

Ryan Newman was second fastest at 191.042, followed by Carl Edwards (191.022 mph) and Roush Fenway Racing teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (191.002).

Matt Kenseth was fifth-fastest (190.900), followed by Clint Bowyer (190.880), Jimmie Johnson (190.813), Jeff Gordon (190.752) and rookie Kyle Larson (190.604) and Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Jamie McMurray, who also clocked the exact same speed of 190.604 mph).

Kevin Harvick was 12th-fastest (190.584), followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. (190.570), Kurt Busch (190.456), Brian Vickers (190.328) and rookie Austin Dillon (190.328).

A.J. Allmendinger was 17th-fastest (190.087), followed by Danica Patrick (189.907), Kasey Kahne (189.747) and Greg Biffle (189.640).

There has to be some concern in the Team Penske camp: Brad Keselowski was only able to net the 25th-fastest speed (189.155 mph), while teammate Joey Logano was 28th-fastest (188.818), the slowest of all 16 Chase entrants.

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

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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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.