Posted 08/03/2012 at 06:12 PM
Jimmie Johnson picked up right where he left off last week at Indianapolis and was fastest in Friday’s first practice session at Pocono Raceway. Johnson ran a fast lap of 174.290 mph, some 5 mph slower than the fastest times from Pocono practices in June. Johnson will attempt to get more bonus points for the Chase this week by using the same chassis he ran in June’s race. For the third consecutive Pocono race, Johnson finished fourth.
Johnson captured the fast lap of the final of his 21 laps run in the 90-minute session. Only two practices will be run on Friday with Pennsylvania 400 qualifying scheduled for Saturday.
Brad Keselowski was the only driver to run more than 10-consecutive laps while also running the most total laps (41) around the flat 2.5-mile triangular track. Keselowski, who won at Pocono last fall, had the 14th-fastest individual lap. All 41 of his laps were run exclusively in race set-up with his mock-qualifying run to come in the final practice.
Kyle Busch ran 36 laps and finished with the second fastest lap (173.994) followed by the entire Roush-Fenway brigade. Carl Edwards was third (173.967), Matt Kenseth fourth (173.950) followed by Greg Biffle (173.772).
Edwards had the fastest average speeds among drivers running at least 20 laps, the amount Edwards ran. But perhaps the best average speed was Busch’s because he ran almost twice as many laps as Edwards with similar average times.
Joey Logano won at Pocono in June and followed up his first session back on the track with the seventh fastest lap. Dale Earnhardt Jr was eighth fastest and June’s runner-up, Mark Martin, finished with the ninth best lap.
Paul Menard hit the wall near the end of practice and will have to go with his back-up car in the race.