Keselowski, Larson top Saturday practices in Michigan

Logan Whitton/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

Polesitter Brad Keselowski and defending winner Kyle Larson combined to pace the final two practices for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Keselowski continued a strong weekend by pacing final practice with an average speed of 200.865 mph. The Michigander was one of just two drivers to top 200 mph in the session, joined by second-place Martin Truex Jr. (200.172 mph).

Joey Logano (199.734 mph) and Ryan Blaney (199.673 mph) combined to give Team Penske and affiliate Wood Brothers Racing three of the top four positions. Kyle Busch (199.529 mph) rounded out the top five, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. (199.463 mph, Larson (199.032 mph), Denny Hamlin (198.988 mph), Daniel Suarez (198.884 mph) and Jamie McMurray (198.846 mph) completing the top 10.

While Keselowski paced practice, the biggest news came from the Hendrick Motorsports camp as teammate Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne each crashed in the session. The two drivers will both start from the tail-end of the field in Sunday’s race after reverting to backup cars.

Results, via NASCAR

Larson led the way in the opening 8:30 a.m. ET session with the day’s fastest speed -a 202.532 mph circuit around the two-mile oval.

Keselowski followed Larson in second with a speed of 202.332 mph. Johnson (202.310 mph) ended the session in third, with Ryan Blaney (202.003 mph) and Chase Elliott (201.884 mph) rounding out the top five.

The highlight of the otherwise quiet session came when Camping World Truck Series came out to make some laps in Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota in order to get experience in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car on the Michigan oval. Bell, who will compete later tonight in the Knoxville Nationals, is on standby for Hamlin as the 2016 Daytona 500 winner prepares for the birth of his second child.

Save for Bell, the session completed with little issue. With temperatures 15-20 degrees below those expected for Sunday’s race, the altered track conditions made potential gains to be made in the session minor.

Results, via NASCAR

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