Newman to start alongside Logano on the front row RELATED: See the full 43-car field " Full race starting lineup MARTINSVILLE, Va.—For last year's spring race at Martinsville Speedway , Joey Logano set a track record during qualifying but didn't win the pole. On Friday at the paper-clip-shaped track, Logano reversed the outcome. Though he failed to match his record of 100.201 mph, he saved his best lap for the final round of knockout qualifying in claiming the top starting spot for Sunday's STP 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race (1 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1). Trailing Logano in the 27th starting position will be Chase Elliott , the heir apparent to Jeff Gordon 's No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, who qualified for his first Cup race, one of five starts he plans to make this year. Logano covered the .526-mile distance in 19.232 seconds (98.461 mph) to win the 10th Coors Light Pole Award of his career, his second of the season and his first at Martinsville. Logano's Team Penske Ford edged the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Ryan Newman (98.328 mph) for the right to lead the field to the green flag in the sixth Sprint Cup race of the year. Martin Truex Jr ., who has a string of five straight top 10s to start the season, qualified third at 98.048 mph, followed by Gordon (97.613 mph) and Jimmie Johnson (97.583 mph). Logano went out late in the second round and put just two laps on his tires in posting the eighth fastest time and advancing to the final round. Keeping laps off his tires was the factor Logano thought was decisive in winning the pole. "I'm pretty sure we ran less laps than anybody going into the third round," said Logano, who ran five laps combined in the first two rounds, a number matched by Gordon. "That was the advantage that we had going for us, that we were able to see how many cars had run and know what we had to run to get into the next round. "So in the second round, all we had to make was two laps, and we felt pretty confident about where we were. Keeping those laps off the tires was good." As well as Logano has run in Martinsville time trials in the past, he was elated to add a pole to his list of accomplishments. "It feels great to finally get the pole here. We've been close so many times," he said. "Throughout my career, I feel like we've always qualified well here but I've never been able to get a pole. I caught pretty much of a hard time about getting the track record here but not getting the pole here, so to have a pole to back it up feels great." If Logano was delighted, Elliott was relieved that he had made the field—and that rain that had been forecast for the area failed to materialize in the afternoon. "That was goal number one, to get in," Elliott said. "So it's definitely a big relief for us. We're excited. It's weird being excited about qualifying, wherever we qualified, 27th, but we're in the show, our first Sprint Cup Series race with (sponsor) NAPA on board. We're excited for Sunday." Brendan Gaughan and Ron Hornaday Jr . failed to make the 43-car field. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today
Rachel Rupert talks with Joey Logano after winning his first Coors Light Pole Award at Martinsville Speedway and second of the 2015 season.
Former Cup champion will start first in second race back from suspension Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live RELATED: See the lineup for Sunday FONTANA, Calif. -- One week removed from his return from a three-race suspension, Kurt Busch rewarded the unwavering support from Stewart-Haas Racing team co-owner Gene Haas by putting his No. 41 Chevrolet on the pole for Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX). "It's amazing to do this in Gene Haas' back yard," said Busch, who streaked around two-mile Auto Club Speedway in 38.889 seconds (185.142 mph) during the third and final round of Friday's knockout qualifying for the fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season. A day after making an appearance at the Haas Automation headquarters in nearby Oxnard, Busch won his record fourth Coors Light Pole Award at Auto Club Speedway and the 17th of his career. In winning his first pole since May 2013 at Darlington, Busch edged Stewart-Haas teammate and reigning Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick (185.047 mph) by .020 seconds. Behind the Stewart-Haas sweep of the front row, Matt Kenseth qualified third at 184.966 mph, followed by David Ragan (184.886 mph) and Kyle Larson (184.337 mph). At the track closest to Toyota Racing Development's home in Costa Mesa, four Toyota drivers made the top 12 on the grid -- Kenseth, Ragan, Denny Hamlin (sixth) and Clint Bowyer (10th). "This is huge for Gene Haas," said Busch, who was suspended by NASCAR in the wake of allegations of domestic violence against former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll and the finding of a State of Delaware Family Court commissioner that, more likely than not, Busch had committed an act of domestic abuse. "Thank you, Gene, for believing in me. This is my job. Come to the track, drive the car and put it up on the pole and go for wins. "That is what Gene has told me to do from the get-go, and I'm glad I have this chance to go back out there and live up to why he hired me. It feels good. The guys were just spot-on all day with all the adjustments. The car started off so fast and it is all due to the work back at the shop. Thank you Stewart-Haas Racing . Appreciate it. No. 41 car up front feels good." NASCAR lifted Busch's suspension after he completed a reinstatement program and after the Delaware Department of Justice declined to file charges in the case, citing insufficient evidence. Since his return, Busch has been fast on the race track, qualifying eighth and finishing fifth last week at Phoenix and winning the pole at Fontana on Friday. Harvick, who is trying for a sweep of the three races on NASCAR’s West Coast swing -- Las Vegas, Phoenix and Fontana -- had a good lap going before abandoning his intended line because of cars rolling slowly on the apron. "I got down into Turn 3, and I was committed to the bottom, and there were three cars on the apron that were cooling off," Harvick explained. "I wanted to run the apron because I ran it in the second round and thought that I knew what I needed to do in the third round. "I got through (Turns) 1 and 2 fairly good, got to the green really good and then I had to abort down here. All-in-all, still a good effort." Notes: Jeff Gordon will start seventh in his final run at Fontana. ... Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Danica Patrick both made the top 24 in the first round of knockout qualifying but failed to advance to the final round. They will start 17th and 22nd, respectively. ... Travis Kvapil and Reed Sorenson failed to make the 43-car field. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
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Miss Coors Light catches up with Kurt Busch who captures his first Coors Light Pole Award since 2013, and first pole under the new knockout qualifying format.
No. 24 driver sets track record, has earned three of the last four poles RELATED: Starting lineup for race " See every car in the field LAS VEGAS — Scratch one small item off Jeff Gordon 's swan song bucket list. With a track-record lap at 194.679 mph, Jeff Gordon won the pole for Sunday's Kobalt 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway , one of three active Cup tracks where the four-time champion had not won a Coors Light Pole Award—before Friday afternoon's time trials. Covering the 1.5-mile distance in 27.738 seconds, Gordon shaved .201 seconds off the track record Joey Logano set last year. Logano (194.315 mph) was second to Gordon in Friday's qualifying during a third and final round that saw nine drivers break the track record. "Oh, boys, this is good!" Gordon said after setting the record. "That was a damn good lap." The pole was Gordon's second of the season and the 79th of his career. The top qualifier for the season-opening Daytona 500 , Gordon did not make a qualifying run in last week's Sprint Cup race at Atlanta because his No. 24 Chevrolet didn't clear inspection in time. Friday's time trials represented a welcome turnaround. After running a conservative 193.653 mph in the second round of knockout qualifying, Gordon knew he had a shot at the pole. "Well, I didn't come off the throttle much, if any—I know I had to blip it just the tiniest, tiniest bit," Gordon said of his pole-winning lap. "The lap before, in the second session, I was a little conservative and the car just stuck so good, I thought when I heard some of the lap times that were up there (in the third round), I knew (I had to) be fully committed and just go for it. "So I drove it down into (Turn) 1. I may have come off of it just a tiny bit, but it wasn't much at all. And it stuck so good, I was like, 'Okay, do I run wide open through (Turns) 3 and 4?' I don't know. It was real close. There was a lot of wide-open throttle there. It was fun. What a turnaround from last week. I'm just so proud of this team and keeping their heads up. Last week was a tough one, and this is a great, great way to start out weekend here in Las Vegas… "I can't believe I won my first pole in Las Vegas in my final race here." Gordon's Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Kasey Kahne (194.287 mph) and Dale Earnhardt Jr . (194.091 mph), qualified third and fourth, respectively. Kyle Larson (193.959 mph) grabbed the fifth spot on the grid. Reigning series champion Kevin Harvick will start 18th, having failed to make the final 12 at a 1.5-mile intermediate speedway for the first time since last year's Las Vegas race. NASCAR officials pulled the No. 2 Ford of last year's Las Vegas race winner, Brad Keselowski , after noticing the team had flared out both rear fenders on the car. Before the start of the season, NASCAR informed teams that manipulating the car bodies would not be permitted. Accordingly, Keselowski's car had to clear inspection an additional time before being allowed to qualify. Nevertheless, Keselowski made the final 12 and earned the 11th starting spot for Sunday's race. Note: The only two remaining tracks where Gordon has not won a pole are Kentucky and Kansas. The only active track where he has not won a Sprint Cup race is Kentucky. READ MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule All-time Sprint Cup poles Rank Driver Poles 1. Richard Petty 123 2. David Pearson 113 3. Jeff Gordon* 79 4. Cale Yarborough 69 5. Darrell Waltrip 59 6. Bobby Allison 58 7. Mark Martin 56 8. Bill Elliott 55 9. Ryan Newman* 51 10. Bobby Isaac 49 *Active driver
Rachel Rupert catches up with Jeff Gordon after he captures his second Coors Light Pole Award of 2015 and his first career pole at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
See where your favorite driver will pit on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) Vote: Who will win at Martinsville? " Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live The pit stall assignments are out for Sunday's STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) and Coors Light Pole Award winner Joey Logano will have the first pit stall. Logano, who won his second Coors Light Pole Award of the season on Friday, will have no one in front of him on pit road. Ryan Newman (starting second) and Tony Stewart (starting sixth) will also have an opening in front of them on pit road. Denny Hamlin (starting 15th) chose the pit stall closest to the pit road entrance (stall No. 43). In his first Sprint Cup Series start, Chase Elliott will be pitting from pit stall No. 5. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Sprint Cup qualifying pushed an hour and 25 minutes Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Full Martinsville schedule MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Rain delayed Friday's on-track activity at Martinsville Speedway for roughly four hours on Friday. The first of three Friday practices for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series was slated for a 10 a.m. ET start, but steady rain at the .526-mile track threw the schedule into question. Shortly after 1:30 p.m. ET, a revised schedule was released, that will see Sprint Cup practice run from approximately 2 p.m. ET to 2:50 p.m. ET. The Camping World Truck Series will have just one practice that begins at 3 p.m. ET but will run until 5:30 p.m. ET. Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying was pushed back from 4:45 p.m. ET to 6:10 p.m. ET. Per a NASCAR bulletin sent to teams earlier this week, the opening round of qualifying will be 20 minutes instead of 15 minutes as it had been for the past four events. Cars finally hit the track for Sprint Cup practice at 2:04 p.m. ET after another brief spell of wet weather put the session into a brief hold. Sunday's 500-lapper, the STP 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1), is the sixth race of the season and first short-track event of 2015 for the Sprint Cup Series. Saturday's Kroger 250 (2:30 p.m. ET, FS1) is the third race of the year for the Camping World Truck Series. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today
After rain delays most of of on-track time, RCR driver leads wet session Vote: Who will win at Martinsville? " Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Practice 1 " Results Following a lengthy delay for rain, Ryan Newman led Friday's lone Sprint Cup Series practice at Martinsville Speedway . Practice was originally slated to begin at noon ET, but cars didn't get on the 0.526-mile track until 2:04 p.m. ET. When they did, Newman ran a session-best speed of 97.835 mph for a best time of 19.355 seconds. He was followed by four Chevrolets in AJ Allmendinger (97.679 mph), Jeff Gordon (97.664 mph), Jimmie Johnson (97.618 mph) and Martin Truex Jr . (97.558 mph) to round out the top five. Defending race-winner Kurt Busch was 14th, with a speed of 97.083 mph. There was a caution late in the session when the No. 3 of Austin Dillon endured engine issues and caused heavy smoke, effectively ending the practice session. Coors Light Pole qualifying was pushed back from 4:45 p.m. ET to 6:10 p.m. ET. Per a NASCAR bulletin sent to teams earlier this week, the opening round of qualifying will be 20 minutes instead of 15 minutes, as it had been for the past four events. Should qualifying be canceled because of weather, Newman would start Sunday's race from the pole position. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule