Brad Keselowski tops Friday Sprint Cup practice at N.H.

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Chase leader Brad Keselowski – already in the Contender Round due to his win last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway – was fastest in today’s Sprint Cup practice session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Keselowski, who put on a dominating performance in his win this past July at NHMS, was already P1 in the session before he posted an even better lap of 138.421 mph in the closing minutes.

Jamie McMurray (137.890 mph), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (137.825), Kasey Kahne (137.661), and Kyle Larson (137.631) all posted their hot laps late as teams went into mock qualifying runs ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying session at 4:40 p.m. ET.

But none of them were able to eclipse Keselowski, who would appear to have a solid chance to sweep the season at the “Magic Mile.”

A win on Sunday for him would also snap a stretch of 13 different winners in as many Cup races at NHMS, which currently ties Texas Motor Speedway for the all-time record.

Joey Logano, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, and A.J. Allmendinger made up Positions 6-10. McMurray and Larson were the only non-Chase drivers among the Top 10 fastest speeds.

Defending race winner Kenseth was the lone Toyota driver within that Top 10. Kahne had the best consecutive 10-lap average at 133.210 mph from his second to his 11th lap in the practice.

Two more Cup practice sessions are slated for Saturday morning before Sunday’s Sylvania 300 (2 p.m. ET, check local listings).

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at New Hampshire – Friday Practice Times

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”