Watch the season finale: 4:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2) RELATED: Full lineup His Team Penske teammate had been faster Friday, but Brad Keselowski sped to the Coors Light Pole Award during group qualifying Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Keselowski's speed of 166.384 mph puts him on the pole for the Ford EcoBoost 300 . It's Keselowski's fifth series pole of the season and 19th of his career. Ryan Blaney, in the No. 12 Ford, had previously paced both Friday practice sessions and was fastest in the second round of group qualifying. He will line up fifth. Kyle Larson qualified second at 166.353 mph, with Matt Kenseth (166.006 mph) third and Elliott Sadler (165.827 mph) fourth. Chase Elliott, who locked up the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship last week, will start 14th. He finished 24th in the opening round and was the last car to advance in group qualifying. Elliott's JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith , who is second in the standings, will start 15th. Smith has a 13-point lead over Brian Scott in the battle to finish second in the final standings. Derrike Cope, Ryan Ellis , Johnny Jackson, Kevin Lepage and Martin Roy did not qualify. The Ford EcoBoost 300 is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday and will be televised on ESPN2.
Brian Scott will join Brad Keselowski on the front row
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On Sunday afternoon, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship contender Brad Keselowski played a game of cat-and-mouse with his competitors en route to his dramatic overtime win at Talladega Superspeedway that secured an automatic berth in the upcoming Eliminator 8 Round.
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Team Penske driver will do what he can to help Logano win title RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Brad Keselowski enters the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale without any playoff pressure. What's yet to be seen is if he also lacks on-track adversaries. Even as the sport's biggest feather-ruffler during this year's new-look Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason, Keselowski said he's not concerned about any retribution for his aggressive nature -- especially since the tensions of competing for a championship have been loosened. "I don't feel I have anything to worry about," Keselowski said Thursday at Homestead-Miami Speedway , site of the Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN). "I mean, payback for what? If payback for anything is racing the way I race, then I don’t really consider that payback. I consider that hard racing, and I support that." Keselowski was at the center of two post-race conflicts during the Chase, one involving Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin at Charlotte in October and another featuring Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick and multiple pit crews at Texas. Throughout it all, Keselowski remained unapologetic for his no-nonsense style of racing. Keselowski failed to advance past the Eliminator Round, the final three-race bracket that trimmed the title-eligible field from eight to its final four. While his hopes for a second championship at NASCAR's highest level are gone, he still has concrete goals for Homestead -- padding his series-best victory total in 2014 to seven and trying to assist Team Penske teammate Joey Logano in his quest for his first Sprint Cup crown. "I'll do anything I can to help Joey within the realms of what we define as fair play," Keselowski said. "I don't know what those things are going to be. You never know until they're right in front of you." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Keselowski : 'With this format, we're by no means out'
NASCAR chairman and CEO: 'There is a line' MORE: Official NASCAR release " Penalities issued to crew members, crew chiefs RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said Tuesday afternoon in an interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that the sanctioning body was reviewing the tapes from a post-race fight Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway , and the sanctioning body was prepared to dole out some "harsh punishment." By Tuesday evening, NASCAR had suspended three Hendrick Motorsports crew members for six championship points races and fined $25,000 apiece. A fourth crew member was docked $25,000 and suspended for three races. The crew chiefs for the No. 5 and No. 24 teams, Kenny Francis and Alan Gustafson, were each fined $50,000 and placed on probation for six races. Jeff Gordon approached Brad Keselowski on pit road following the AAA Texas 500 after the two made contact late in the race, which resulted in Gordon cutting a tire and led to a 29th-place finish. He was running in the top-five at the time of the incident. Gordon removed his helmet and walked toward Keselowski as tensions and proximity among the teams' crew members increased. Once Kevin Harvick pushed Keselowski closer to the fray, the pushing intensified and some punches were landed. "In particular with the other participants in the sport, crew members or anyone else, … we don't have dugouts or sidelines," France said. "The drivers often are parked in the garage, next to one another. … It's not uncommon at all for someone to express how they feel, with a lot of emotion sometimes. We're good with that, we understand that's part of the game. But there is a line. When things escalate to the level that they did, or anything close to what happened Sunday, we will step in and deal with that very carefully." France also noted that Keselowski's late-race move was one of a veteran going all-out to get the win. "Quite frankly, he did exactly what I would expect any driver with that much on the line to do," France said. "He was looking at an opportunity to shoot a gap, if you will. It was unfortunate they touched and Gordon's tire obviously got cut, which was very unfortunate, but the idea is, that late in the race, things are going to happen when guys are legitimately trying to win races." Keselowski's move, and the emotions that it caused, were the product of a new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in its first year of existence. As for the added drama to the sport? "Welcome to big-time sports with big moments," France said. With two races remaining in the 2014 season, eight drivers are still eligible to win this year's championship. That includes the parties involved in Sunday's incident -- Gordon, Keselowski and Harvick -- as well as Joey Logano , Denny Hamlin , Ryan Newman , Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth . Following this Sunday's Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN) four drivers will advance to the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a shot at the crown. "I think on balance, we still have a lot of consistency," France said. "Points still matter a lot. … I think we struck the right balance. We like what we see. It's elevating the racing, and that's our No. 1 goal." Newman and Kenseth remain in the title hunt despite both being winless this year. If either driver were to advance to Homestead and win the championship without winning a race, France said the sanctioning body would be "fine" with that outcome. "That could happen in any format that we have," France said. "In any one we've ever had or might have, we may be in that situation. You can have teams in other sports with losing records in the regular season win the Super Bowl or World Series. It happens." In 2010, France talked about the Chase capturing "the essence of Game 7s, eliminations," and with wins guaranteeing drivers a spot in NASCAR's playoffs, those moments can happen in any of the 26 regular-season races. "That's what we're trying to always have," France said. "Even when we're not in the Chase, we want the Daytona 500 , which obviously doesn't fall in the Chase, to be the biggest, most important event it can be. Given that we don't have hundreds and hundreds of races throughout our season -- we only have 36 -- they all ought to mean as much as possible. This Chase is certainly doing that." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Joey Logano races his way into the Championship Four at Homestead, while Brad Keselowski is out.
Team Penske driver looking to pull off the unthinkable for second time in four weeks RELATED: Keselowski : 'That's who I am' " Watch raw footage of the incident MORE: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota We’re about to find out what Brad Keselowski does for an encore. The scene on pit road Sunday night at Texas Motor Speedway was eerily familiar. It was the second race in the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and Keselowski had made even-tempered Jeff Gordon angry enough to fight. Wasn't this roughly the same thing that happened three weeks ago at Charlotte, after the second race of the Chase’s Contender Round? There, Keselowski traded paint with Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin on the track and ran into Kenseth's car on pit road. The typically mild-mannered Kenseth was sufficiently riled up to jump Keselowski between transporters, igniting a melee that made national headlines. Keselowski was fined $50,000 for playing bumper cars on pit road at Charlotte. There was none of that after Sunday night's AAA Texas 500 , but the brawl was far worse. It was a bar-room donnybrook worthy of the Old West, with fists flying and connecting. Crew members from teams not remotely involved in the incident that caused tempers to flare were flailing in the pileup, either settling old scores or simply joining the "fun." For the record, Gordon took umbrage at Keselowski's aggressiveness on the next-to-last restart, where Keselowski attempted to split the Chevrolets of Gordon and eventual race winner Jimmie Johnson , only to run into Gordon's car and cut the left rear tire. Gordon spun, finished 29th and saw his chances of qualifying for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway slip from likely to tenuous. After the race, Gordon drove to pit road, parked next to Keselowski (who had finished third), walked toward Keselowski's car and waited for Keselowski to slide out of the driver's-side window. With one of Keselowski's crewmen separating the two drivers, Gordon began shouting at his adversary. The argument didn’t come to blows, however, until race runner-up Kevin Harvick shoved Keselowski toward Gordon. That lit the fuse that set off the explosion and put Keselowski in a similar position to the one he faced after Charlotte -- likely needing to win the next race to stay eligible for the series championship. After the Charlotte incident, Keselowski beat the odds to win at Talladega Superspeedway , but his task may be even more difficult Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway (3 p.m. ET, ESPN). In the first place, Keselowski has never finished better than third at the 1-mile track in the Sonoran Desert, though he has finished in the top six in four of his last five starts there. "I think most likely we're going to have to win Phoenix, just like I felt we were going to have to win here today," Keselowski said after the Texas race. "I'm sure there's going to be some contact along the way, across the board. "Everybody is very desperate. The points are very, very, very close. Anybody can have a bad day and be out of it. And that's just the reality." Everything Keselowski said is true. The Chase standings indeed are close, with 18 points separating Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin (tied for first) from Kevin Harvick in eighth. Keselowski is seventh in points, 17 back of the leaders. There are four spots available for the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway , and three drivers who control their own destiny (Logano and Hamlin advances with a finish of 11th or better at Phoenix; and Ryan Newman with a ninth or better). So, there's the very real possibility that Keselowski faces the same win-or-bust scenario that confronted him at Talladega. It's difficult enough to win a race at a track for the first time, especially with the season on the line. But Keselowski may face an even larger obstacle as he tries to repeat the Talladega miracle. He goes to a track with his sole focus on winning -- where he'll race against a growing list of drivers eager to make sure he doesn't. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation