Erik Jones fastest in final practice at Pocono
LONG POND, Pa. -- Final practice at Pocono Raceway featured a few drivers trying to nail down their futures in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Erik Jones was fastest in Saturday’s last session with a 172.117-mph lap. Kurt Busch was second at 172.051 mph with a lap that he turned near the end of the session to bump Matt DiBenedetto (171.373) to third.
William Byron (who was fastest on the average speeds for 10 consecutive laps) and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five. Click here for speeds from the final practice, including the best 10-consecutive lap averages.
At New Hampshire Motor Speedway last week, Jones said he had positive meetings recently with team owner Joe Gibbs and hopes to have a deal done soon.
Between practices Saturday at Pocono, DiBenedetto said he has had “not a single conversation” with team owner Bob Leavine about returning to Leavine Family Racing next season, but the No. 95 Toyota driver also isn’t concerned about his future.
“I’ve had to fight and claw so hard, now that I’m in a good, quality ride with a great team that I love, I’m just 100% focused on performing,” said DiBenedetto, who has two top fives in the last five starts. “That’s what we ‘ve been doing. I know that anyone -- not to sound arrogant -- but they’d have to have their heads examined if they get rid of me. Because nobody will do a better job in my car than myself.”
After an eventful first session with crashes for Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson putting both in backup cars, there were no incidents in the final practice before qualifying at 4 p.m. (NBCSN) for Sunday’s race.