It’s a rare Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race weekend at the Pocono Raceway. The stars of NASCAR’s premiere division practiced twice on Friday from the Tricky Triangle as the only thing that they’ll do on Saturday is qualify to set the field for Sunday’s Pocono 400 (2 p.m. ET/FS1/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
So, that in turn made Friday even more important as this was the only time of the weekend that these drivers could get their cars dialed in on the 2.5-mile Pennsylvania race track. They’ll get just one lap in qualifying on Saturday.
So, who’s looking good so far?
Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing that’s who.
In the first session, Daniel Suarez topped the speed charts in his No. 41 Ford. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver turned in a lap of 171.217 mph. He was only P17 in final practice though. Despite that, Suarez could be a contender on Sunday. He has two top seven finishes in his last three Pocono starts.
Ryan Blaney in a Team Penske Ford was second in his No. 12 entry. Blaney, circled the track at a speed of 171.090 mph. He was just 14th overall in the second and final session shortly after.
Alex Bowman (170.338 mph), Kyle Busch (170.290 mph) and Brad Keselowski (170.226 mph) rounded out the top five in the first session.
Overall, six cars in the top 10 in that session belonged to either CGR, Penske or JGR including all three from Penske.
What about final practice?
Kurt Busch this time was quickest in his No. 1 Chevrolet with a speed of 172.712 mph. Busch, has 10 top 10 finishes in his last 15 Pocono starts. His Ganassi teammate of Kyle Larson (171.612 mph) was P3 in final practice in his No. 42 Chevrolet. Larson, finished runner-up in this race last year.
Keselowski (171.798 mph) was second in his No. 2 Ford and has six top five finishes in his last seven Pocono starts. He was in the top five in both sessions on Friday too.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (171.018 mph) and Kyle Busch (171.018 mph) rounded out the top five in final practice.
In this session, seven of the top 11 went to the same three organizations. But, some drivers to watch will be Clint Bowyer who typically doesn’t have much luck at the Tricky Triangle but the newly turned 40 year old was ninth and sixth respectively. William Byron could be tough too. He was eighth and ninth respectively himself.