One day after earning the pole position for Sunday’s Sylvania 300, Brad Keselowski led a chilly second Sprint Cup practice session this morning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Under overcast skies and with ambient temperatures around 40 degrees – a far cry from the mid-70s/sunny conditions expected for Sunday’s race – Keselowski posted a hot lap of 135.622 mph to pace the field.
“It’s really hard to get the tires up to temperature and get going,” Keselowski told Fox Sports. “Goodyear brings a great tire here that made the run in the heat, with all the brake heat and all those things, so when the track’s really cold like this, the first few laps are really dangerous.
“Everyone’s kind of fighting that, but temperatures will be up a little bit for tomorrow’s race and even for the next practice session, so that shouldn’t be an issue.”
The 2012 Cup champion has led every session so far this weekend at NHMS, where he also won this past July.
Ryan Newman, seeking to pull himself into the Top 12 of the Chase Grid ahead of next week’s Challenger Round finale at Dover, was second-fastest at 134.920 mph.
“I think we learned a couple things, but in the end, it showed that we stacked up better than we did in qualifying, so we did at least some of our homework overnight,” said Newman.
Former New Hampshire winner Brian Vickers was third at 134.916 mph. Kevin Harvick (134.901) and Carl Edwards (134.853) completed the Top 5, with Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Gordon, Jamie McMurray, and Kyle Busch following in Positions 6-10.
The Cup guys will have one more practice session later today at 11:30 a.m. ET.