Ryan Blaney’s busy Friday continued with him leading this morning’s first NASCAR Nationwide Series practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Blaney, who will try to pull an upset over Matt Crafton for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title later tonight, logged a lap of 167.942 mph in the No. 12 Team Penske Ford to pace the opening NNS session.
He is making his 14th and final NNS start for Penske (his third in the No. 12 car specifically) this season.
“I can’t believe we ran a lap that fast in race trim,” Blaney told Fox Sports. “We’ve made a couple changes and maybe it’ll be better. I’m just really excited to run this 12 again.”
Elliott Sadler, who is making his final start for Joe Gibbs Racing before he jumps to Roush Fenway Racing for 2015, was second-fastest at 166.991 mph. Matt Kenseth followed him in third (166.662), with recently crowned NNS driver’s champion Chase Elliott (166.318) and his JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith (166.231) completing the Top 5.
Blaney’s teammate for Saturday’s NNS season finale, Brad Keselowski, was eighth-fastest in the practice with a lap of 165.568 mph. Keselowski is seeking to bring home a second NNS owner’s championship for Penske in the No. 22 this weekend, and can do it with a 24th-place finish in the Ford Ecoboost 300; Kyle Busch, who’s driving the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing machine that’s also in contention for the owner’s crown, was seventh-fastest (165.710).
Another NNS practice is on tap for later today at 4 p.m. ET.