Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon Lead XFINITY Series Practices at Loudon

A week after winning his first NASCAR XFINITY Series event of the year, Brad Keselowski is looking for his second consecutive victory for Team Penske.

So far, he’s well on his way. The 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion set the pace in the first practice session of the weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, clocking in at 29.271 seconds (130.122 mph). Winning two events at Loudon (2012 and ’14) Keselowski is searching for his 34th career XFINITY Series triumph in his 221st start. With two victories at the one-mile track the driver of the No. 22 car has combined to lead 283 of 400 laps.

Sitting in the second position when time expired was Denny Hamlin, making his eighth start of the year in NASCAR’s second-tier division. Hamlin, though was no match for Keselowski, nearly three-tenths of a second slower than the No. 22. The Richmond winner has five top 10s this season, piloting the No. 20 Toyota for the third time after running the No. 54 car in place of Kyle Busch for five events.

Ryan Sieg, who drives for his family-owned No. 39 team, was third quickest during practice after putting up a qualifying run late in the session. That’s far better than he’s finished in any series race in 2015. Running full-time for the second consecutive season, Sieg has a best finish of just 15th (Chicagoland last month).

Rookie Ben Rhodes is making his third career start for JR Motorsports this weekend and was fourth in the first practice session. In his previous two starts, the reigning K&N Pro Series East champion finished seventh and 21st, respectively. Rhodes also posted the quickest 10-lap consecutive average speed at 125.372 mph, which barely edged out fellow rookie Brennan Poole. Poole was sixth in practice with another rookie, Daniel Suarez sitting in between.

Championship leader Chris Buescher ended the session 16th after finishing just outside of the top 10 in each of the last two races. None of the four Roush Fenway Racing cars were inside of the top 10 in practice with Darrell Wallace, Jr. being the quickest of the squad in 15th.

Here are the results from the first practice:

1 22 Brad Keselowski(i) Hertz Ford 29.271 130.122
2 20 Denny Hamlin(i) Sun Energy 1 Toyota 29.544 128.920
3 39 Ryan Sieg Uncle Bob’s Self Storage Chevrolet 29.558 128.859
4 88 Ben Rhodes Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet 29.577 128.776
5 18 Daniel Suarez # ARRIS Toyota 29.646 128.476
6 42 Brennan Poole DC Solar Chevrolet 29.659 128.420
7 54 Kyle Busch(i) Monster Energy Toyota 29.668 128.381
8 33 Austin Dillon(i) Rheem Chevrolet 29.680 128.329
9 2 Brian Scott Star Market/Kraft Velveeta Chevrolet 29.744 128.053
10 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 29.835 127.662
11 43 Dakoda Armstrong WinField Ford 29.891 127.423
12 7 Regan Smith Anderson’s Pure Maple Syrup Chevrolet 29.896 127.402
13 62 Brendan Gaughan South Point Chevrolet 29.959 127.134
14 3 Ty Dillon Wrangler Workwear/Unifirst Chevrolet 29.994 126.985
15 6 Darrell Wallace Jr. # Cross Insurance Ford 30.018 126.884
16 60 Chris Buescher Zest Ford 30.038 126.799
17 8 Blake Koch LeafFilter Gutter Protection Toyota 30.174 126.228
18 16 Ryan Reed Lilly/American Diabetes Association Ford 30.216 126.052
19 1 Elliott Sadler OneMain Financial Ford 30.310 125.661
20 01 Landon Cassill Flex Seal Chevrolet 30.334 125.562
21 44 David Starr Zachry Toyota 30.386 125.347
22 51 Jeremy Clements AllSouthElectric.com/RepairableVehicles.com 30.456 125.059
23 28 JJ Yeley Texas 28 Spirits Stage Toyota 30.647 124.280
24 4 Ross Chastain # teamjdmotorsports.com Chevrolet 30.687 124.118
25 25 Dylan Lupton Zaxby’s Chevrolet 30.726 123.960
26 24 Eric McClure Reynolds Wrap Toyota 30.762 123.815
27 90 BJ McLeod(i) Young’s Building Systems/Randco Chevrolet 30.794 123.686
28 14 Cale Conley # IAVA Toyota 30.984 122.928
29 26 Matt Wallace JGL Racing Toyota 31.041 122.702
30 97 Peyton Sellers # VroomBrands Chevrolet 31.399 121.303
31 15 Todd Peck(i) BYBExtreme.com Chevrolet 31.561 120.681
32 52 Joey Gase DB Sales Company Chevrolet 31.698 120.159
33 70 Derrike Cope Chevrolet 31.905 119.379
34 13 Derek White Braille Battery/Grafoid Dodge 32.237 118.150
35 74 Mike Harmon Battery Saver Dodge 32.466 117.317
36 40 Josh Reaume # Braille Battery/Grafoid Dodge 35.338 107.782

HAPPY HOUR

Austin Dillon continued his strong runs in XFINITY equipment Friday, posting the top speed in Happy Hour for Saturday’s 200-mile race out in New Hampshire. Dillon, driving the No. 33 Chevrolet topped all drivers with a speed of 130.007 mph. Two Richard Childress Racing teammates followed close behind: Brendan Gaughan was second, running the No. 62 followed by the No. 2 and Brian Scott. Joe Gibbs Racing rounded out the top 5 speeds, clocking in with Suarez and Kyle Busch.

The big surprise in the session was J.J. Yeley, running sixth quick in the JGL Racing No. 28 Toyota. Keselowski, after leading first practice by a mile slipped to seventh while RCR’s Ty Dillon, Hamlin and Rhodes rounded out the top 10.

40 drivers are attempting to qualify for tomorrow’s event so everyone out on track will make the race.

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About Joseph Wolkin

Joseph Wolkin
Joseph started with Fronstretch in Aug. 2014 and worked his way up to become an editor in less than a year. A native of Whitestone, New York, Joseph writes for NASCAR Pole Position magazine as a weekly contributor, along with being a former intern at Newsday and the Times Beacon Record Newspapers, each on Long Island. With a focus on NASCAR, he runs our social media pages and writes the NASCAR Mailbox column, along with other features for the site.

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One comment

  1. Avatar

    Wow a Cup driver on the pole for the Xfinicup Practice! Who saw that coming? And more importantly, who cares anymore?