Race Weekend Central

Carl Edwards Fastest in 1st Saturday Practice at Pocono

Three words: Joe Gibbs Racing.

The four-car Toyota team, which struggled to find consistent speed in the beginning of the season, has become the class of the Sprint Cup Series field for the past several weeks, and this weekend is no exception. The JGR cars were first, second, third and fourth fastest in the opening session on Saturday for the Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway, with Carl Edwards being the fastest of the quartet.

Edwards laid down a fast time of 51.191 seconds (175.812 mph). He will attempt to win his third race at the 2.5-mile tricky triangle, and his second race of the 2015 season. The No. 19 car not only had the fastest single lap, but was the quickest of the six drivers who ran 10 consecutive laps. Edwards led 16 laps and finished 15th in the June race.

Matt Kenseth was second fastest in practice with a time of 51.306 seconds. Pocono has not been very kind to the 2003 Sprint Cup champion in the past. But in the June race, he recorded his best finish at the track since coming to JGR in 2013, sixth.

Then there is Rowdy. Kyle Busch was third fastest in the opening Saturday session with a time of 51.309 seconds. Busch will look to become the first driver since Jimmie Johnson in 2007 to win four consecutive Cup races. He has won four of the past five races, including the last three (Kentucky, New Hampshire and Indianapolis). Busch will start Sunday’s 400-mile, 160-lap race from the pole after beating Kevin Harvick in the final round of qualifying. Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch completed the top five.

Ryan Newman had a solid opening session, running 22 laps and posting the sixth fastest single-lap time. Logano was seventh fastest with a time of 51.410 seconds (175.063 mph). Austin Dillon was eighth fastest, followed by 2011 August Pocono winner Brad Keselowski and three-time Pocono winner Johnson.

Final practice for Sprint Cup teams will take place at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN.



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