Matt Kenseth leads opening Cup practice from Pocono

Matt Kenseth posted the fastest single-lap speed in first practice at Pocono Raceway.

Matt Kenseth leads opening Cup practice from Pocono

Kenseth’s lap of 176.077mph (51.114-seconds) came after 12 circuits. Kyle Larson, Erik Jones, Kyle Busch, Chris Buescher, Daniel Suarez, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, Ryan Newman and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rounded out the top 10 in the first session on Saturday.

Kyle Busch, who is still looking for his first win at the Tricky Triangle, showed he has the speed to accomplish the task when he set the early pace in first practice with a lap of 175.360mph (51.323-seconds) after his first three circuits. Pocono is one of just two tracks on the Monster Energy Cup Series where the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has yet to win, the other is Charlotte Motor Speedway

The Fords of Blaney and Kevin Harvick ran second and third followed by Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Joey Logano, Newman, Chase Elliott, Kasey Kahne and Larson.

Newman moved up to second-quick after five laps with a speed of 174.277mph (51.642-seconds). Before the 20-minute mark, Clint Bowyer (173.960mph) jumped up to third after his first three-lap run but his Stewart-Haas teammate Harvick passed him with a lap of 174.034mph. In Kurt Busch’s second run, he moved from 11th to seventh (173.481mph).

At the 30-minute mark, Busch’s lap held up at the top. Blaney (174.527mph) moved back to second followed by Newman, Harvick, Bowyer, McMurray, Truex (173.718mph), Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Logano.

Thirty-three minutes into the session, Stephen Leicht spun out exiting Turn 1 before completing his first lap in the No. 83 BKRacing Toyota. His last start in a Cup car came at Phoenix Raceway in 2012.

Denny Hamlin, who had posted the 16th-fastest single-lap speed after three laps, developed a brake issue and had to return to the garage to change a warped rotor. Hamlin returned to the track with seven minutes left in the 55-minute session.

With 15 minutes remaining, Kyle Busch held on to the top spot followed by Blaney, Truex, Newman, Harvick, Bowyer, McMurray, Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Logano.

Kenseth (176.077mph) vaulted over Busch with 10 minutes left in practice. Larson followed with the second quick speed of 175.957mph. Busch held on to the third lap with Buescher, Suarez, Blaney, Truex, Newman and Harvick rounding out the top 10. In the last minutes, Jones posted the third fastest single-lap speed of 174.415mph.

Three drivers posted 10 Best Consecutive Averages. McMurray led the category with a speed of 172.280mph, followed by Newman (171.884mph) and Bowyer (171.418mph).

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 20 united_states Matt Kenseth 
Toyota 12 51.114     176.077
2 42 united_states Kyle Larson 
Chevrolet 12 51.149 0.035 0.035 175.957
3 77 united_states Erik Jones 
Toyota 14 51.307 0.193 0.158 175.415
4 18 united_states Kyle Busch 
Toyota 13 51.323 0.209 0.016 175.360
5 37 united_states Chris Buescher 
Chevrolet 14 51.495 0.381 0.172 174.774
6 19 mexico Daniel Suarez 
Toyota 9 51.547 0.433 0.052 174.598
7 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr. 
Toyota 13 51.554 0.440 0.007 174.574
8 21 united_states Ryan Blaney 
Ford 13 51.568 0.454 0.014 174.527
9 31 united_states Ryan Newman 
Chevrolet 21 51.642 0.528 0.074 174.277
10 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 
Ford 14 51.700 0.586 0.058 174.081
11 4 united_states Kevin Harvick 
Ford 16 51.714 0.600 0.014 174.034
12 6 united_states Trevor Bayne 
Ford 13 51.727 0.613 0.013 173.990
13 14 united_states Clint Bowyer 
Ford 19 51.736 0.622 0.009 173.960
14 1 united_states Jamie McMurray 
Chevrolet 18 51.746 0.632 0.010 173.926
15 11 united_states Denny Hamlin 
Toyota 10 51.834 0.720 0.088 173.631
16 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson 
Chevrolet 22 51.845 0.731 0.011 173.594
17 41 united_states Kurt Busch 
Ford 16 51.879 0.765 0.034 173.481
18 22 united_states Joey Logano 
Ford 13 51.894 0.780 0.015 173.430
19 2 united_states Brad Keselowski 
Ford 11 51.952 0.838 0.058 173.237
20 24 united_states Chase Elliott 
Chevrolet 27 52.017 0.903 0.065 173.020
21 88 united_states Dale Earnhardt Jr. 
Chevrolet 17 52.047 0.933 0.030 172.921
22 5 united_states Kasey Kahne 
Chevrolet 18 52.050 0.936 0.003 172.911
23 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger 
Chevrolet 11 52.313 1.199 0.263 172.041
24 10 united_states Danica Patrick 
Ford 19 52.424 1.310 0.111 171.677
25 3 united_states Austin Dillon 
Chevrolet 14 52.469 1.355 0.045 171.530
26 27 united_states Paul Menard 
Chevrolet 11 52.508 1.394 0.039 171.402
27 95 united_states Michael McDowell 
Chevrolet 9 52.716 1.602 0.208 170.726
28 13 united_states Ty Dillon 
Chevrolet 10 52.844 1.730 0.128 170.313
29 43 united_states Aric Almirola 
Ford 15 52.884 1.770 0.040 170.184
30 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto 
Ford 12 53.038 1.924 0.154 169.690
31 38 united_states David Ragan 
Ford 17 53.145 2.031 0.107 169.348
32 34 united_states Landon Cassill 
Ford 7 53.249 2.135 0.104 169.017
33 23 united_states Corey Lajoie 
Toyota 10 53.708 2.594 0.459 167.573
34 72 united_states Cole Whitt 
Chevrolet 8 54.136 3.022 0.428 166.248
35 15 united_states Gray Gaulding 
Chevrolet 8 54.370 3.256 0.234 165.532
36 33 united_states Jeffrey Earnhardt 
Chevrolet 12 54.495 3.381 0.125 165.153
37 83 Stephen Leicht 
Toyota 4 55.237 4.123 0.742 162.934
38 55 united_states Derrike Cope 
Toyota 4 55.241 4.127 0.004 162.922
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Kyle Busch tops final Cup practice at Pocono

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