NSCS: Brad Keslowski Tops Opening Sprint Cup Practice at Richmond

RaceChaser Staff NASCAR, Southeast 0 Comments

RICHMOND, Va. — official report — NASCAR via Getty Images photo —

Brad Keselowski topped the opening 85-minute practice session at Richmond International Raceway for Saturday’s Toyota Owners 400 (7 p.m. ET, FOX).

Keselowski’s speed of 126.086 mph behind the wheel of his No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion paced the practice session at the 0.75-mile track in Virginia.

Keselowski ran well at Richmond last year, finishing fourth in the Toyota Owners 400 and dominating his way to a win in the fall Federated Auto Parts 400 by leading 383 of 400 laps.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. came in second for the session (125.593 mph), followed by Kevin Harvick (125.517 mph), Jimmie Johnson (125.203 mph) and Clint Bowyer (125.174 mph). All four drivers have won at Richmond before.

Defending race winner Joey Logano came in ninth in the session with a fast lap of 124.827 mph.

Chase Elliott was 21st in the practice session as he looks to qualify for his second career Sprint Cup Series start. The defending NASCAR XFINITY Series champion is trying to pull double duty this weekend and will need to qualify among the top 36 drivers in qualifying on Friday to make the 43-car field for Saturday’s main event.

Kasey Kahne had to serve a 15 minute penalty at the start of opening practice for failing qualifying inspection three times last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. That is in line with a memo outlining specific penalties that was sent to Sprint Cup teams this week. Kahne finished the session in 27th.

Danica Patrick, who is looking for her third top-10 finish at a short track this season, struggled in the opening practice to a 41st-place finish as she battled a tight condition in the center of the turn.

“I thought for a while we had the right side (tires) on the left and the lefts on the right, it was that far off,” Patrick said following practice. “Hopefully we can get it better before tomorrow night, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Final practice is set for 1 p.m. ET and will run 85 minutes with TV coverage on FOX Sports 1. Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying will take place at 5:45 p.m. ET with TV coverage on FOX Sports 1.

NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications and Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman contributed to this report.

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