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Windstorm helps Johnson rediscover pole form

"We know when they hold us like that there is a reason," said Stewart afterwards. "They knew what was coming. We just waited until they said it was good and when they said it was okay we knew it was going to be alright.”

As well as the sudden windstorm, the heat continues to be an issue with severe heatwaves stretching across large parts of the US bringing 100 degree Fahrenheit temperatures to Kentucky this weekend, even for the start of the evening Nationwide and Cup races. Track conditions were consequently very slick and lacking grip, which will likely make the race duration longer.

Kyle Busch had previously topped Practice 1 with a time of 30.371s (177.801 mph) ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr., while Jeff Gordon topped Practice 2 with a lap of 30.840s (175.097 mph) ahead of Brad Keselowski.

There had earlier been contact between Keselowski and Juan Montoya within five minutes of the start of Practice 1, with Keselowski ending up in the wall and resorting to the backup car for the weekend. Montoya's #42 was repaired but there was then more contact between the two with some measure of retribution seemingly involved with Keselowski making repeated contact with the rear of Montoya's car which resulted in the officials bringing out the caution flags.

"We didn't even do a lap, I wasn't even up to speed," Montoya told TV reporters about the original incident. "I came out of the pits. They told me he had a big run. I put my hand out to wave at him. I started turning and running high. I think he thought he'd cleared me and he was probably going to run high and run straight into me."

Keselowski made no comment after practice 1, and pointed out he was on his way to Nationwide Series qualifying immediately after the session. "I've got to go make it race, so I don't have time to worry about that."

As for the follow-up incident, Keselowski said: "In the second practice, I felt like he pulled up in front of me to intentionally screw my lap up again.

“So I was done with that," he continued. "You have to stand your ground. If I let one person push me around, I let everybody push me around. My team works way too hard and I'm not going to stand for that."

Full qualifying and practice times available.




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