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Bad Brad Looking Good In Texas

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, November 5 2016
Brad Keselowski and his Team Penske boys are shoing big speed at TMS. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)

Brad Keselowski and his Team Penske boys are shoing big speed at TMS. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)

FORT WORTH, Texas – Brad Keselowski served notice Saturday afternoon that he intends to be a player during Round 8 of NASCAR’s Chase for the Championship at Texas Motor Speedway.

The 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion, Keselowski is not among the Round of 8 drivers looking to advance into the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20. But with a second Cup victory as the prize, “Bad Brad” topped the speed chart during the final, 50-minute “Happy Hour” practice. Keselowski toured TMS’ high-banked/1.5-mile quadoval in 28.319-seconds/190.685 mph on the first of his 44 laps in the session.

For comparison, Keselowski qualified his No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion fourth for Sunday’s race in 28.106-seconds/192.130 mph.

Martin Truex Jr. was second-fast at 189.787 mph in his No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Toyota Camry fielded by Furniture Row Racing.

The Chasers were led by reigning Cup champion Kyle Busch, whose top lap of 189.753 mph in the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota placed him third for Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch won the Duck Commander 500 here on April 9.

Joey Logano, Keselowski’s Penske Racing teammate, was fourth after a lap at 189.707 mph in the No. 22 AAA Ford. Logano, who qualified second, expects “racing on the edge” Sunday.

“You have a lot of speed and bumps and a lack of grip on old tires,” Logano said. “So you may think you are OK and the next thing you know you hit the tunnel bump in (Turns) 1 and 2 or the bumps in 3 and 4 or the ripple bumps and the next thing you know your car is shaking out of control and you miss the bottom or go up the racetrack. It’s a challenging place to get around for that reason. You’re in the corners for a long period of time. You exit Turn 2 with no banking at all. For some reason in Turn 4 the car lifts up off the track and kind of shoots you up into the fence.

“You see a lot of mistakes being made here, myself included, and it just happens. It reminds me a lot of Atlanta (Motor Speedway) lately because Atlanta is the same way. You watch in-car cameras and they are swatting flies in there. Everyone is back-and-forth on the wheel. The cars are on the ragged edge. If you compare that to a repave like Michigan or Kansas your hands are pretty straight, almost like you’re driving an Indy car. Here, you have that thing hung-out. You are driving a stock car.”

Chaser Carl Edwards of JGR was eighth at 189.255 mph in the No. 19 Sport Clips Toyota. Kurt Busch of Stewart-Haas Racing was 10th at 189.069 mph in the No. 31 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet SS.

Six-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson _ the only driver locked into the Championship 4 _ was 15th overall after lapping at 188.186 mph in the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevy SS.  Johnson earned his berth by winning at Martinsville Speedway last Sunday.

JGR teammates Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth placed 18th and 19th, respectively. Hamlin’s best lap in the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota was 187.344 mph while Kenseth ran 187.266 mph in the No. 20 DeWalt Flexvolt Camry.

Kevin Harvick of SHR was 28th on the sheet at 185.452 mph in the No. 4 Busch Beer Chevy SS.

Pole-sitter Austin Dillon was 11th after lapping at 189.036 mph in the No. 3 Realtree/Bad Boy Chevy SS fielded by Richard Childress Racing. Dillon claimed P1 at 192.301 mph Friday.

Scheduled for 334 laps/501 miles, the race will be televised by NBC Sunday at 1 p.m.  (CST), if you remembered to “fall back” one hour with your clocks overnight–

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, November 5 2016
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