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Keselowski runs in Cup practice sessions

Brad Keselowski returned to the driving seat for Friday's Cup race practice sessions, just two days after a major accident at Road Atlanta saw him airlifted to hospital.
Penske Racing's Brad Keselowski was able to put in a full day at Pocono Raceway, running in both practice sessions ahead of Sunday's Good Sam RV Insurance 500 Cup race.

Keselowski's participation had earlier been in doubt after he suffered a 100mph accident at turn 1 on the Road Atlanta road course during testing. Although Keselowski was able to exit he car under his own steam, he was airlifted to a local medical centre for "precautionary" evaluation which took several hours.

"The left front tyre ended up where the brake pedal was supposed to be," Keselowski said. "But the seat itself was intact and what I feel like got me hurt was that the feet area was compromised. Being a guy with long legs, [the damage] just shoved my legs back into my torso, into my hip and it was very, very painful."

At the time, Keselowski reassured his fans via Twitter that he was okay and that the X-rays had been clear, although he also posted pictures of his badly swollen left ankle. It's now emerged that Keselowski has in fact suffered a small fracture. The injury - technically known as an avulsion fracture - is caused when a tendon or ligament pulls off a piece of attached bone, where the fracture occurs. But after meeting with NASCAR neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty and a specialist orthopedist in Charlotte on Thursday, it was confirmed that Keselowski should be able to race at the weekend with no restrictions.

"Mr. Keselowski saw an orthopedic surgeon this afternoon who indicated that he would be able to put weight on the foot as necessary and should not be inhibited in any way," said a statement from Penske Racing, which confirmed that "he would be able to compete this weekend at Pocono Raceway." However, he's still very bruised and has pain when walking, so the decision to pull Keselowski from double-duty in the weekend's Nationwide Series race at Iowa stands.

Initially it had been thought that Keselowski would at least also have to sit out Friday Cup practice at Pocono, and so Sam Hornish Jr. was on standby to take the #2 car out if that proved to be the case. However, Keselowski took to the track on Friday as normal and experienced no problems, running tenth fastest in the midday session, and eighth in the afternoon session despite a spin that left him limping away from the car in turn 1. Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne topped the two session timesheets respectively.

(Full Cup practice times and positions available.)

"I consider myself a lucky guy to walk away and be here," he said on Friday. Asked if the accident was preying on his mind at all, Keslowski admitted: "I have checked my brakes a couple extra times before each corner."

That released Hornish to head to Iowa Speedway a day earlier than expected, and Hornish was therefore able to drive Keselowski's #22 in Friday practice as well as the originally-planned Saturday qualifying and evening race. Hornish was fourth fastest in the #22 Dodge in the afternoon practice session topped by Roush Fenway's Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Turner Motorsports' Jason Leffler.

Initially, Penske had planned to keep Hornish close to hand in Pennsylvania and allow development driver Parker Kligerman to handle the Friday Nationwide duties. Instead, Kligerman was able to return to running in the Camping World Truck Series Friday practice session at Pocono where he drives the #29 for Brad Keselowski Racing. He was 15th fastest in the Friday sole practice session ahead of Saturday morning qualification and the afternoon's Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service 125 race; Kevin Harvick, Todd Bodine and Kyle Busch were the three fastest trucks.



Related Pictures

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Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, sits in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam RV Insurance 500 at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 5 in Long Pond, Pa. [Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, races to an eighth place finish with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS who finished in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, leads Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 2, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
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Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 American Ethanol Chevrolet SS, captures the pole position Friday, March 18, 2016 for a front row start in Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Dillon will be joined on the front row with Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS who qualified second. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 American Ethanol Chevrolet SS, with team owner and grandfather Richard Childress after capturing the pole position Friday, March 18, 2016 for a front row start in Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Dillon will be joined on the front row with Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS who qualified second. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 American Ethanol Chevrolet SS, captures the pole position Friday, March 18, 2016 for a front row start in Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Dillon will be joined on the front row with Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS who qualified second. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, celebrates his eighth Phoenix win with his crew Sunday, March 13, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. He won by a hundredth of a second, closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup History. This was Harvick`s 500th consecutive series start, a feat accomplished only by 14 others throughout the history of NASCAR.  (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to his eighth Phoenix win with Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS who finished in sixth place Sunday, March 13, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Harvick won by a hundredth of a second, closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup History. This was his 500th consecutive series start, a feat accomplished only by 14 others throughout the history of NASCAR. (Photo by Andrew Coppley for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag for his eighth Phoenix win Sunday, March 13, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. He won by a hundredth of a second, closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup History. This was Harvick`s 500th consecutive series start, a feat accomplished only by 14 others throughout the history of NASCAR. (Photo by Andrew Coppley for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, celebrates his eighth Phoenix win Sunday, March 13, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. He won by a hundredth of a second, closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup History. This was Harvick`s 500th consecutive series start, a feat accomplished only by 14 others throughout the history of NASCAR. (Photo by Gregg Ellman for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, leads Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy / Haas Automation Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, beats Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, to the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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