Kevin Harvick still strong, tops final Sprint Cup practice at Dover

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Pardon me for having a Captain Obvious moment, but Kevin Harvick is definitely looking like the one to beat for tomorrow’s Challenger Round finale at Dover International Speedway.

After leading the first Sprint Cup practice session and qualifying on the pole yesterday, Harvick has ended the lead-up to the AAA 400 by claiming top honors in final practice with a lap of 157.089 mph.

Brad Keselowski’s lap of 156.379 mph was good enough for P2 in the session. He was followed by Jeff Gordon in third at 155.952 mph, Denny Hamlin in fourth at 155.858 mph, and Aric Almirola in fifth at 155.380 mph.

Keselowski has maintained a stout pace through the practices, but noted that it’s been hard to keep up with how the Monster Mile has evolved over the weekend.

“The track just keeps changing drastically,” Keselowski told Fox Sports. “We see that in the pace – about a good half a second faster in this practice than we were the last practice.

“Usually, it’s the opposite here, so I think that’s kind of thrown everyone for a loop.”

Jamie McMurray was the lone non-Chase competitor in the Top 10 speeds for final practice, slotting in seventh (155.273) behind sixth-place Kasey Kahne and ahead of Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Kyle Busch in eighth, ninth, and 10th respectively.

The other Chasers fared like this: Carl Edwards in 11th, Kurt Busch in 14th, A.J. Allmendinger in 16th, Matt Kenseth in 17th, Joey Logano in 18th, Greg Biffle in 20th, and Ryan Newman in 23rd.

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES AT DOVER – Final Practice

Robert Wickens shares more positive strides toward recovery in new video

Joe Skibinski/IndyCar
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Robert Wickens has made massive steps since sustaining a spinal cord injury in an Aug. 19, 2018 crash at Pocono Raceway.

Since the accident, Wickens publicly has shared his recovery, often uploading videos of his physical rehabilitation on Twitter.

In his most recent update on Wednesday, Wickens shared a video of him walking on a treadmill. Fellow NTT IndyCar Series competitor Tony Kannan, who competes in triathlons during his spare time, also was visible running on the treadmill behind Wickens.

“When I am @TonyKannan [sic] age, I hope to run as fast as him…” Wickens tweeted. “Today was a good day!”

Wickens, who will turn 31 on March 13, first made his return to the IndyCar paddock in last year’s season opener in St. Petersburg. Since then, he’s made a return to the driver’s seat, piloting a specialized Acura NSX prior to the start of last year’s IndyCar race in his hometown of Toronto.

In September, Wickens fulfilled a vow to his wife Karli, by standing with her during their wedding. The new husband and wife also danced together during their reception.

Should Wickens fully recover to resume racing, Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt has stated that the team’s No. 6 entry will be available for him to drive. Wickens continues to remain as a “driver coach and consultant” for the team.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter