Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick strong again in first Cup practice at Kansas

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Under cool and windy conditions at Kansas Speedway, Dover winner Jeff Gordon started off his Contender Round by posting the fastest time in first Sprint Cup practice this afternoon.

Gordon, who also won back in May at Kansas, turned in a lap of 196.257 mph around the 1.5-mile oval.

Coincidentally enough, the second-place finisher from that particular race, Kevin Harvick, was second-fastest behind Gordon in this first session at 196.178 mph.

Gordon and Harvick were also the two key drivers in last weekend’s Challenger Round finale, as Harvick led 223 of 400 laps only to finish 13th following a mid-race flat tire.

On the other hand, Gordon snatched the lead from Brad Keselowski late and went on to his fourth win of 2014.

Altogether, five of the remaining 12 Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers cracked the Top 10 in first practice at Kansas. Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were seventh and eighth, respectively, while Ryan Newman was 10th-fastest.

The other Chasers went as follows: Joey Logano in 12th, Jimmie Johnson in 14th, Brad Keselowski in 18th, Carl Edwards in 21st, Kyle Busch in 25th, Denny Hamlin in 26th, and Matt Kenseth in 28th.

A group of four non-Chase racers made up Positions 3-6 this afternoon. Greg Biffle, eliminated last weekend at Dover, was third-fastest (195.730); he was followed by Kyle Larson in fourth (195.560), Austin Dillon in fifth (195.532), and Jamie McMurray in sixth (195.489). Aric Almirola, another of the eliminated Chasers, was farther down in ninth (195.207).

Cup qualifying for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 will take place later this evening at 5:45 p.m. ET.

Juncos Racing to field single car entry in Indy 500

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Part-time NTT IndyCar Series entrant Juncos Racing will announce their attempt to qualify for the 2019 Indianapolis 500 within the next few weeks, according to RACER.

The team, which made its Indy 500 debut in 2017, ran 12 of the 17 IndyCar Series races last season, but has only made a start in one of the four events so far in 2019, finishing 18th in the inaugural running of the IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas with Kyle Kaiser behind the wheel.

Though no driver has yet to be announced for the single-car entry, Kaiser is expected to be the leading candidate for the ride. The 23-year-old Californian has raced for the team since 2014, where he won the 2017 Indy Lights championship.

One of the top teams in the Road to Indy ladder system, Juncos Racing has over 50 wins between Indy Lights and Indy Pro 2000 competition. The team’s most recent victory came in the second Indy Lights race at St. Petersburg this year with Rinus VeeKay behind the wheel.

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