It was early in practice when Brad Keselowski laid down his quick lap of 175.370 mph. Over the course of the next 90 minutes, some came close but no team was able to top the No. 2. Toward the end of practice Keselowski improved on his lap time to set a quick lap of 176.606 mph.
Keselowski has found some past success at Pocono Raceway. In 2011, Keselowski won the August race after suffering from a broken ankle at a test session earlier that week. However, in the past five races at the “Tricky Triangle” the No. 2 team has only accumulated one top-five finish. That doesn’t go to mention that in June of 2014, Keselowski had the dominant car but was passed with six laps to go by eventual race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr.
In 2015, Keselowski has one win and currently sits sixth in the point standings. Though clinching a Chase birth, the No. 2 team has only one top five finish since mid-April coming two weeks ago in New Hampshire.
Matt Kenseth was second fastest in the opening practice. Pocono has never been one of Kenseth’s better tracks, but with Joe Gibbs Racing’s resurgence over the past month anything is possible this weekend.
Denny Hamlin has four career wins at Pocono but none coming since June of 2010. Every time that Pocono comes up on the schedule Hamlin circles it on his list of tracks to perform well at. He was third quickest in opening practice on Friday.
Austin Dillon and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five. Back in June, Harvick was quickest in every practice session and finished second in the race to Martin Truex Jr. Harvick has never won on the triangle, but he has two straight second-place finishes.
Truex was 12th quick in the session. After winning Pocono in June, Truex has just two top 10 finishes after finishing in the top 10 in each of the first 14 races. He will look to become the ninth driver ever to sweep the Pocono races.
Qualifying is at 4:30 Friday afternoon to set the starting grid for Sunday’s Windows 10 400.