Keselowski leads the way in Kansas first practice

Image courtesy Ford Performance

Keselowski leads the way in Kansas first practice

NASCAR

Keselowski leads the way in Kansas first practice

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Brad Keselowski was fastest of four playoff drivers in the top 10 at the end of the opening Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Kansas Speedway.

Keselowski’s Team Penske Ford Mustang led the way at 176.499 mph (30.595 seconds). He is the most recent winner at Kansas, having gone to victory lane at the track in the spring.

Sunday is the second elimination race in the playoffs.

Second fastest was Aric Almirola at 176.390 mph. Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Daniel Suarez followed him at 176.332 mph. Completing the top five were Denny Hamlin (P) at 175.999 mph and Ryan Blaney (P) at 175.450 mph.

Sixth fastest was Kurt Busch at 175.370 mph, seventh Paul Menard at 175.308 mph, eighth Austin Dillon at 175.001 mph, ninth Kevin Harvick (P) at 175.893 mph, and Daniel Hemric rounded out the top 10 at 174.825 mph.

After needing a relief driver last weekend at Talladega because of ongoing neck issues, Menard is set to finish out the year in the No. 21 Ford.

The rest of the playoff drivers in practice were Kyle Larson, 11th quick at 174.746 mph; Joey Logano, 13th at 174.672 mph; and Clint Bowyer 15th at 174.413 mph.

Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Alex Bowman were 20th and 21st fastest, respectively. Byron ran 174.194 mph while Bowman clocked in at 174.076 mph.

Kyle Busch was 22nd fastest at 174.059 mph, defending race winner Chase Elliott was 23rd quick at 173.773 mph and Martin Truex Jr. was 25th at 173.645 mph.

Ryan Preece made it on track in what was the backup car from teammate Chris Buescher. JTG Daugherty Racing was allowed into the garage early to convert the car into Preece’s primary for the weekend. Preece was 32nd fastest.

Of the drivers who ran 10 consecutive laps, Kyle Larson was fastest over Almirola, Byron, Jimmie Johnson and Erik Jones.

No teams had to serve practice holds and there were no incidents in opening practice. All 40 drivers who are entered in the Hollywood Casino 400 participated in the session.

UP NEXT: Final practice at 7:05 p.m. ET.

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