Carl Edwards leads final Sprint Cup practice, Keselowski up to speed, Danica 5th-fastest

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JOLIET, Il. – Brad Keselowski can cancel the APB (All-Points Bulletin): he found the speed he’s been missing this weekend.

The 2012 Sprint Cup champ was second-fastest in the final Cup practice session Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway, covering the 1.5-mile track at 186.335 mph.

Carl Edwards was the fastest at 186.413.

Keselowski and teammate Joey Logano struggled in Friday’s practice, recording the 25th- and 28th-fastest speeds of all 43 drivers on-track.

Things didn’t improve much in Saturday morning’s practice, as Keselowski was 20th-fastest and Logano was 25th-fastest.

But that wasn’t the case for Keselowski in happy hour.

However, Logano is still mired in a quest for more speed, as he managed to record just the 18th-fastest speed in the final practice (184.451 mph).

As for the rest of the field in Saturday’s last session, Sprint Cup rookie Kyle Larson was third-fastest (185.918), followed by Jimmie Johnson (185.835).

Danica Patrick was the biggest surprise of the session, recording the fifth-fastest speed at 185.618 mph, followed by Kasey Kahne (185.312), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (185.300), Matt Kenseth (185.293), Kurt Busch (185.160) and Paul Menard (185.147).

Menard was the fastest in Saturday’s earlier practice.

Other notables in the final practice session included:

* Jeff Gordon was 12th-fastest (184.862), followed by Kevin Harvick (184.723).

* Kyle Busch was 15th-fastest (184.679).

* Several other Chase drivers struggled to get up to speed: Greg Biffle (17th, 184.489), Aric Almirola (20th, 184.388), Denny Hamlin (21st, 184.181), Ryan Newman (22nd, 184.037), A.J. Allmendinger (24th, 183.830) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (26th, (182.673).

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. will race the No. 3 vs. IndyCar stars in Michigan iRacing

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The invite has been received, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. has another iRacing event on his schedule.

The NASCAR on NBC analyst tweeted Wednesday that he will make his debut in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge with Saturday’s race at Michigan Speedway. The race will be shown live on NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday.

The 2-mile oval was chosen by IndyCar drivers as the third track in the six-race series. Earnhardt heartily endorsed Michigan as a potential iRacing venue Monday along with Daytona and Talladega. Michigan nearly was selected by fans as the opener in the iRacing Challenge.

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Earnhardt, a longtime avid iRacing fan, had been lobbying since last Thursday that he was interested in racing with IndyCar drivers.

He has driven in the first three races of the eNASCAR Pro Invitational, finishing second to Denny Hamlin in the opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Last year, he attended his first Indianapolis 500, working as an analyst as part of NBC Sports’ inaugural broadcast of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

“I’d love to do it,” Earnhardt said Monday about joining the IndyCar iRacing Challenge. “I think I’d love to get to know those guys.

“I had such a great time at the Indy 500 last year, and the reception that I received from other drivers there really meant a lot to me. So I know they’re all a lot of great dudes in that series that I already know that I’d love to get to know some of them even better.”

It already has been quite the week for Earnhardt, who was announced Monday as one of 15 nominees for the 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The field for Saturday’s race at Michigan should include another  NASCAR driver in Jimmie Johnson. The seven-time Cup champion has driven the first two races of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge (and has plans to race IndyCar part time in the future).