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.

Indy 500 qualifying: Today’s schedule, TV times, how the 33-car field is set

Indy 500 qualifying schedule
Doug Mathews/IndyCar
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The 33-car field of the 104th Indianapolis 500 will be set through the two-day Indy 500 qualifying schedule Saturday and Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Today’s session will determine the nine cars that will compete for the pole position and starting positions 10-30.

On Sunday, the pole position then will be determined in a Fast Nine Shootout (the top nine qualifiers also received NTT IndyCar Series points).

All on-track activity will be on NBC Sports Gold’s IndyCar pass (click here for streaming Saturday and here for Sunday), and Indy 500 qualifying will be on NBC from 3-5 p.m. ET Saturday and Indy 500 pole qualifying from 1-3 p.m. ET on NBC.

Last year, Simon Pagenaud captured the pole position on the way to winning last year’s Indy 500.

Qualifying speeds at Indianapolis Motor Speedway are determined by a four-lap average around the 2.5-mile track.

Here is the Indy 500 qualifying schedule and how to watch on TV:

Saturday, Aug. 15

5:30 a.m. – Garage opens

6 a.m. – Tech inspection

8:30-9:30 a.m. – Indianapolis 500 practice (NBC Sports Gold)

11 a.m.-5 p.m. – Indianapolis 500 qualifying (NBC Sports Gold; NBC coverage from 3-5 p.m.; NBCSN 5-6 p.m.)

7:30 p.m. – Garage closes

Sunday, Aug. 16

8 a.m. – Garage opens

9 a.m. — Tech inspection

11-11:30 a.m. – Indianapolis 500 practice (NBC Sports Gold)

1:15-2:15 p.m. – Fast Nine pole qualifying (NBC begins at 1 p.m., NBC Sports Gold)

3:30-6 p.m. – Indianapolis 500 practice (NBCSN, NBC Sports Gold)