Race Weekend Central

Daniel Suarez, Kurt Busch Lead Cup Practices at Pocono

Daniel Suarez and Kurt Busch led the way in a pair of practice sessions at Pocono Raceway on Friday (May 31) in preparation for Sunday’s Pocono 400.

Practice One

Since his rookie season, Suarez has always been good at Pocono. That continued in opening practice, turning a lap of 171.217 mph to top the scoring pylon.

The No. 41 Ford was .039 seconds ahead of second quickest Ryan Blaney (171.090 mph), who picked up his first-career Cup victory at Pocono two years ago this weekend. Alex Bowman was third (170.338 mph), followed by Kyle Busch (170.290 mph) and Brad Keselowski (170.226 mph) rounding out the top five.

Denny Hamlin was sixth on the board, though the No. 11 team switched the steering box after the practice. Joey Logano, William Byron, Clint Bowyer and defending race winner Martin Truex Jr. filled out the remainder of the top 10.

Only three cars made a run of at least 10 consecutive laps. Jimmie Johnson led that category at 168.711 mph, edging out Bowyer and Austin Dillon. Dillon, Bowman and Kevin Harvick all completed 23 laps in the session, the most of the 37 drivers taking time.


Practice Two

Though Kurt Busch saw his ride from last year top the opening Cup practice, the No. 1 was quickest in final practice at 172.712 mph, close to three-tenths ahead of Keselowski, who was second on the chart (171.798 mph).

Kyle Larson had the top speed heading into turn 1 in the session, but third on the scoring chart (171.612 mph), while Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (171.018 mph) and Kyle Busch (170.849 mph) rounded out the top five.

Bowyer, Harvick, Erik Jones, Byron and Truex were slotted in positions six through 10.

Despite leading the opening session, Suarez was mired in 17th, the ninth quickest Ford. Logano was the only driver to run more than 40 laps, running a total of 43 around the 2.5-mile configuration.

Out of the 17 drivers that ran at least 10 consecutive laps, Kyle Busch led the way (170.042 mph). Meanwhile, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Jones was at the bottom of the list (161.564 mph), nearly nine mph off the No. 18 car.


Qualifying is set to begin at 11 a.m. ET on Saturday (June 1). The green flag for the 400-mile race is scheduled to wave shortly after 2 p.m. ET on Sunday (June 2), should weather stay away from the track.

About the author

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Dustin joined the Frontstretch team at the beginning of the 2016 season. 2020 marks his sixth full-time season covering the sport that he grew up loving. His dream was to one day be a NASCAR journalist, thus why he attended Ithaca College (Class of 2018) to earn a journalism degree. Since the ripe age of four, he knew he wanted to be a storyteller.

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