Fords grab first 9 spots in first Cup practice at Talladega, Brad Keselowski No. 1
Brad Keselowski was fastest in the first of two NASCAR Cup practice sessions Friday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway.
Keselowski covered the 2.66-mile, high-banked layout at a speed of 197.859 mph.
But perhaps the biggest story of the session was that the first nine drivers were all powered by Ford power.
Second-fastest through ninth were Kurt Busch (197.806 mph), Ryan Blaney (197.798), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (197.761), Kevin Harvick (197.696), Clint Bowyer (197.680), Aric Almirola (197.667), Danica Patrick (197.547) and Joey Logano (197.606).
The fastest non-Ford driver was Kasey Kahne, who was 10th at 197.082 mph.
There were two incidents in the 55-minute session.
First, Jimmie Johnson didn’t even complete one lap when he spun due to a flat left rear tire coming out of turn 3 early in the session.
Practice was red-flagged for several minutes until Johnson’s car could be pushed off the track.
“Popped a tire going into (turn) three and looking at some photos, it looked like the tire was already soft down the back straightaway,” Johnson said. “I guess I ran something over on the apron getting up to speed, and made maybe a third of a lap and was spun out which is really bizarre.”
Johnson said his team will likely stay with the original car instead of going to a back-up.
“Nothing major,” Johnson said. “It looks like we will stay with this car. There might be some panels to push out and straighten out, stuff like that. Probably a new splitter on the car. But all-in-all got away with one there for sure.”
A second incident that brought out a brief red-flag stoppage occurred with about five minutes left in the session when Kyle Larson’s car lost power and stopped.
The second and final Cup practice will take place this afternoon from 3 - 3:55 p.m. ET on NBCSN.