Rachel Rupert catches up with Matt Kenseth after he wins his first Coors Light Pole Award of 2015 putting him on the front row for the Food City 500 in Support of Steve Byrnes and Stand Up To Cancer.
Rachel Rupert catches up with Kurt Busch after he captures his second Coors Light Pole Award of the 2015 season at Texas Motor Speedway.
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
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
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
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.
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.
Rachel Rupert talks with Joey Logano after winning his first Coors Light Pole Award at Martinsville Speedway and second of the 2015 season.
Suarez involved in wreck during second group of first round in qualifying Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Related: Full qualifying results Austin Dillon won the Coors Light Pole Award at Daytona International Speedway for the NASCAR XFINITY Series season-opening Alert Today Florida 300. The 2013 XFINITY Series champion posted a lap of 190.251 mph in the final round of the three-round group qualifying session at Daytona. Justin Marks will join Dillon on the front row. Chad Boat and Brendan Gaughan will comprise Row 2, while Aric Almirola and Erik Jones will make up Row 3. A large crash occurred in the second group of the opening round with Daniel Suarez, Tanner Berryhill, Carlos Contreras, Harrison Rhodes, Landon Cassill and Blake Koch among the cars involved in the wreck. The No. 18 car of Suarez was pretty torn up and he had to go to a backup car. Seven cars did not make the race, including Rhodes, Contreras and Berryhill. Following the crash Kyle Busch, who is teammates with Suarez told FOX Sports 1 of the group qualifying, "This is not what it needs to be. Somehow, someway, this isn't right." Busch later added, "you don't want to see cars wrecking in qualifying. The show is the race." Shortly after the crash, qualifying was putting into a holding pattern due to some rain in the area. That delayed last about 40 minutes. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was not in the actual crash but in the group where it took place, had a slower time as a result and will start 40th, the last spot in the field. He got that spot as a result of his champions provisional in the series. Something he joked about on Twitter. Guess I'm gonna use that champions provisional today. #ThingsYouSayAt40 — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) February 21, 2015 The group qualifying procedure for Daytona, adjusted by NASCAR on Wednesday, saw the first round consist of four groups with each group alloted two minutes and 30 seconds to complete a lap. Once a vehicle started rolling off pit road, it couldn't stop and had to proceed to the track. The fastest 24 advanced to the second round with consisted of two groups, which the same time frame as the first round. The top 12 moved on to the third and final round. This same format was used in Friday's Keystone Light Pole Qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250. The Alert Today Florida 300 will be Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET with TV coverage on FOX Sports 1. 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
Daytona 500 winner and runner-up will line up 1-2 at Atlanta RELATED: Full race lineup " Photos of the full 43-car field HAMPTON, Ga. -- When you're hot, you're hot. Joey Logano, last week's Daytona 500 winner, didn't slow down one iota on Friday in the first competition of the year at an open-motor track. With a lap at 194.683 mph in the final round of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series knockout qualifying at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Logano put his No. 22 Team Penske Ford on the pole for Sunday's Fold of Honor QuikTrip 500 (1 p.m. ET on FOX). Logano toured the 1.54-mile intermediate speedway in 28.477 seconds, .131 seconds faster than the lap at 193.793 mph posted by reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick. Jamie McMurray was third fastest at 193.623 mph. Denny Hamlin (193.400 mph) qualified fourth for the second race of the season, followed by new Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Carl Edwards (193.137 mph). Like Logano, Jeff Gordon was hot, but for a completely different reason. Gordon was one of 13 drivers whose car failed to clear inspection before time trials began, even though NASCAR delayed the start of qualifying for 15 minutes. Accordingly, Gordon was not allowed to make a qualifying attempt in the first round. The list of those who failed to pass pre-qualifying inspection included three other past champions: Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart. Logano and his team, on the other hand, did everything right. And he defied conventional wisdom on a track with old pavement that typically abrades tires. Logano posted his fastest lap of the session in the third and final round. "Our first run today in practice, we were faster on our second run on scuffs, so I knew that the grip would stay in the tires for at least two runs," said Logano, who won his first Coors Light Pole Award at Atlanta and the ninth of his career. "I didn't know about the third run, but apparently the third run also… "It was probably right at the limit, though. Probably the next run after that, it would have taken a pretty big jump down." Though Harvick qualified second, he believes he'll have a strong long-run car in Sunday’s race. Even so, Harvick felt he left some speed out on the race track. "I just did a bad job," he said. "In Round 1 I missed Turn 1, and in the last round, I missed Turn 1 again and just didn't get to the bottom like I needed to in order to get back in the throttle." Note: Mike Wallace, Matt DiBenedetto, Michael Annett and Reed Sorenson failed to qualify for Sunday's race. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today