Kevin Harvick fastest in 2nd Sprint Cup practice at Homestead

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Kevin Harvick is still living up to favorite status on Championship Eve at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Harvick’s early flyer of 175.069 mph in the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet was enough to give him top honors in this afternoon’s second Sprint Cup practice session. He was second in yesterday’s opening practice and then qualified fifth – highest among the Championship 4 – for Sunday’s Ford Ecoboost 400.

Second-fastest in this session was Sunday’s pole sitter, Jeff Gordon, who topped out at 175.029 mph. Brad Keselowski popped a lap of 174.498 mph to go P3, but also sustained right-side damage on his No. 2 Team Penske Ford thanks to a late run-in with the wall.

Jimmie Johnson was fourth-fastest with a lap of 174.222 mph, followed by two more title contenders in Denny Hamlin (173.969) and Joey Logano (173.589). Ryan Newman was the slowest of the Champ 4 at 172.712 mph, good for 12th on the time sheets.

Newman spent some time in the garage due to repairs for a broken right-front tire bead blower on his No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.

He also sustained front splitter damage in the session; Newman later confirmed that was due to hitting a piece of debris (see the tweet below from the AP’s Jenna Fryer).

It’s presumed that he’ll have a new splitter on his car by today’s final practice session at 3 p.m. ET.

The session was slowed for one red flag. Five minutes into the 50-minute run, Brian Scott suffered an apparent engine failure down the backstretch.

Scott quickly took his heavily smoking No. 33 RCR Chevy to the garage, and after a red flag for clean-up, the practice resumed green conditions with 30 minutes left.

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

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“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).