Miss Coors Light , Amanda Mertz, catches up with Kyle Busch as he continues his dominance by grabbing his second career pole at Pocono Raceway after winning the last four out of five races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
JGR driver claims back-to-back poles at Loudon, Indy RELATED: Full Indy lineup INDIANAPOLIS -- If Toyota and Ford are to break the Chevrolet stranglehold on Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the two manufacturers took a positive step in that direction during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series time trials on Saturday. Underscoring the recent resurgence of Joe Gibbs Racing , Carl Edwards toured the 2.5-mile track in 49.056 seconds (183.464 mph) to put his No. 19 Toyota on the pole for Sunday's Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at The Brickyard (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, IMS, SiriusXM), edging Joey Logano 's Team Penske Ford (183.139 mph) by .087 seconds. David Ragan (182.886 mph) qualified third in the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. Fourth-place qualifier Tony Stewart (182.823 mph) had the fastest Chevrolet in the final round. Chevrolets have won the last 12 Sprint Cup races at Indianapolis. Stewart, though, had the fastest lap of the afternoon (185.547 mph) in the first round of time trials, which trimmed the number of drivers eligible for the pole from 46 to 12. The Coors Light Pole Award was Edwards' first at the Brickyard, his second of the season, his second in a row and the 15th of his career. "After yesterday, this is amazing," Edwards said. "We started so slow yesterday and we struggled. I think at one point (crew chief) Darian (Grubb) and I were looking at each other going, 'What are we going to do here?' "It was a struggle, and everybody buckled down, worked hard -- I'm so proud of my guys. TRD and Toyota have been putting so much effort into this whole program. Stanley has been behind us 100 percent -- not just me, but Matt Kenseth and our whole team. This is big. It will be neat to start up front." Kyle Busch , Edwards' JGR teammate, will start ninth on Sunday in search of his third consecutive victory in the Sprint Cup Series. Sidelined for the first 11 events of the season by injuries sustained in an accident at Daytona in February, Busch has won three of the last four races and has seven races left in which to regain eligibility for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by finishing the regular season in the top 30 in the series standings. Entering Sunday's race, Busch is 33rd in points, 58 behind David Gilliland in 30th place. Behind Stewart, Kyle Larson , Kevin Harvick , Clint Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt Jr . will line up fifth through eighth on the grid. After qualifying, Logano and Ragan were quick to point out an unusual coincidence. Edwards, Logano and Ragan started 1-2-3, in that order, a week before at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a one-mile flat track. The Sprint Cup cars are running a completely different high-drag aerodynamic package this week, with a nine-inch-tall rear spoiler and a one-inch wicker. Last week at Loudon, the cars featured the regular 2015 rules package with a six-inch spoiler. "David and I were just laughing up here that these are the same three race cars that started up front at Loudon," Logano said. "A completely different race track, different package and the same cars are fast. It's good for us. We're close. Second always hurts, but it's nice to be up toward the front, especially here." Jeff Gordon 's final run at Indianapolis as a full-time driver didn't start the way the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet would have hoped. "I really think our 3M Chevrolet is really good," said Gordon, who qualified 19th. "It's been good all weekend. I feel like I underestimated the grip. I had a little wiggle out of three coming to the green and that concerned me slightly. The grip was there in Turn 4, and I was aggressive into Turn 1, but not aggressive enough. "That's what's disappointing; it wasn't a balance issue or a speed issue. I didn't get enough speed through (Turn) 1. It adds up with this new package. Yeah, I'm pretty disappointed to start back there." Notes: Josh Wise , Jeb Burton and Reed Sorenson failed to make the 43-car field. ... Ryan Newman ’s time was disallowed because he ran his lap without the mandatory right-side window in his car. Newman will start 43rd on Sunday on a provisional.
Miss Coors Light , Amanda Mertz, catches up with Carl Edwards after he secures his second pole in as many weeks and his first at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Joe Gibbs Racing driver scores first pole since 2013 RELATED: Full starting lineup for New Hampshire " See how every car looks LOUDON, N.H. -- As Carl Edwards put it, "things just feel right." That was Edwards' take on the state of affairs at Joe Gibbs Racing , after he put his No. 19 Toyota on the pole for Sunday's 5-hour ENERGY 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). "Right now it just feels right," said Edwards, who toured the Magic Mile in 28.179 seconds (135.164 mph) in Friday's qualifying session to earn his first Coors Light Pole Award of the season, his first at New Hampshire and the 14th of his career. "It's just cool, man. My expectation is to do the best we can (on Sunday). My hope is that we win this thing. ... We've been working very hard to bring this team together to be the best that we can be. It just feels right. This is cool. It's a lot of fun." With JGR teammate Kyle Busch winning last Saturday’s event at Kentucky, the organization placed all its drivers in the top five, with Denny Hamlin , Edwards and Matt Kenseth trailing second-place Joey Logano of Team Penske . Coincidentally, Logano (135.021 mph) qualified second to Edwards on Friday, with Michael Waltrip Racing 's David Ragan third (also at 135.021 mph) and Busch (134.025 mph) and Hamlin (134.601 mph) fourth and fifth, respectively. Edwards, who improved dramatically on his previous average starting position of 14.9 at New Hampshire, didn’t believe initially that he had won the pole until he got reassurance from crew chief Darian Grubb. On the other hand, Logano wasn't particularly thrilled to run second to a Gibbs driver for the second time in six days. "Second -- it seems like the story of our week, coming off Kentucky with a strong second-place run and then qualifying second here as well," Logano said. "Not that I'm complaining about it, but it's not much fun finishing second, being so close to getting trophies and pole flags and all the fun stuff. "There's not really much fun that happens when you finish second, but we're close. We've got speed in our race car once again." Danica Patrick advanced to the second round of knockout qualifying and will start 20th, one spot behind Dale Earnhardt Jr . Jeff Gordon , still seeking his first victory in his last season of full-time Sprint Cup racing, will start 23rd. "Yeah, it's not been a good day for us with the No. 24 car," Gordon acknowledged. "We've been struggling getting the car to do what we need it to do. Just real tight through the center, need to get it to rotate, need some front grip, so we will go to work on it (Saturday in practice). "It's disappointing that we didn't qualify better. We typically qualify well here and perform well here. We'll put this day behind us and go work on it tomorrow and get it ready for Sunday." Reed Sorenson , this week's driver in the Premium Motorsports No. 62 Chevrolet, failed to qualify for the 43-car field for the fifth time this season. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Joe Gibbs Racing sweeps top three in New Hampshire qualifying RELATED: Qualifying results Denny Hamlin scooted to the Coors Light Pole Award in Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series qualifying at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Hamlin blasted to a fast lap of 131.026 mph, putting the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota in the first starting spot for Saturday's Lakes Region 200 (4 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM). His second pole position of the season was his first at the 1.058-mile track and his 18th in the XFINITY Series. Kyle Busch posted the second-fastest lap in the No. 54 Toyota at 130.443 mph, more than a tenth of a second slower than his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate. Rookie Daniel Suarez clinched a 1-2-3 sweep for Gibbs-owned cars, pushing the No. 18 Toyota to the third-fastest lap at 130.238 mph. Brad Keselowski drove the Team Penske No. 22 Ford to the fourth-fastest lap. Brian Scott completed the top five in the Richard Childress Racing No. 2 Chevrolet. Sprint Cup regulars Busch and Keselowski have monopolized New Hampshire's Victory Lane in the last six XFINITY events. Busch swept from 2009-11 and added a 2013 win; Keselowski posted XFINITY wins at the relatively flat oval in 2012 and '14. Ryan Sieg knocked Brennan Poole out of the final, five-minute round as the 12th and final driver above the cut line. XFINITY points leader Chris Buescher was also among those failing to make the final round, managing just the 20th-fastest lap in the 10-minute Round 2. Brendan Gaughan was the final driver to make the 24-driver cut after the opening 20-minute round. He edged Cale Conley by .072 seconds to advance. The session was interrupted midway through when Matt Frahm spun in the No. 79 Chevrolet. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Miss Coors Light Amanda Mertz talks with Carl Edwards after winning his first pole at New Hamphshire Motor Speedway.
Edwards, Busch fastest among "Tricky Triangle" competitors RELATED: Practice 3 results " Sunday's Pocono starting lineup Kyle Busch slapped the right side wall hard midway through the final Sprint Cup Series practice session at Pocono Raceway on Saturday. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver brought his No. 18 Toyota back to the garage for major damage fixes. After the repairs, his team sent the Coors Light Pole Award winner back out onto the track -- where he zoomed to the top of the leaderboard. In an all-JGR sweep across two sessions, Busch joined Carl Edwards as a practice topper with a best speed of 175.240 mph. “Rowdy”, winner of three straight races, was followed by his brother, Kurt, at 175.067 mph. Edwards (174.920 mph), Kevin Harvick (174.771 mph) and Jimmie Johnson (174.584 mph) rounded out the top five. Early in the session, Jeb Burton lost control of his No. 26 ride and rocketed toward pit road, hitting the inside wall in a bizarre accident. “That was my fault,” Burton told NASCAR on NBC. “ ... I just screwed up.” Burton will switch to a backup car and start at the tail of the field. Tony Stewart ’s team also decided to switch out the transmission in his No. 14 Chevrolet. He was 18th in the session at 173.157 mph. Tune in Sunday for the Windows 10 400 at Pocono (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra). Practice 2 " Results Joe Gibbs Racing continued its streak of recent dominance, placing its four drivers atop the leaderboard in Saturday's first Sprint Cup Series practice session at Pocono Raceway. It's Kyle Busch that has won the past three races, but it was Carl Edwards (175.812 mph) that earned the best speed nod. Matt Kenseth was next at 175.418 mph, followed by Busch (175.408 mph) and Denny Hamlin (175.298 mph). Busch will start first in Sunday’s Windows 10 400 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra) after winning Friday’s Coors Light Pole Award. Kurt Busch (175.285 mph) and Ryan Newman (175.104 mph) rounded out the top five. Martin Truex Jr ., the spring Pocono winner, was 11th at 174.547 mph. Dale Earnhardt Jr . swept the "Tricky Triangle" last year but has not found that same speed this weekend, placing 23rd in Saturday's opening session at 173.718 mph. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Suarez, Blaney starting on front row; Kenny Wallace qualifies seventh RELATED: Full qualifying results Daniel Suarez soared past Ryan Blaney in the final 30 seconds of qualifying to earn himself the second Coors Light Pole Award of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career. The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver had a fast lap of 133.441 mph in 23.606 seconds during the qualifing session on Saturday at Iowa Speedway. Team Penske 's Blaney will join Suarez on the front row during the U.S. Cellular 250 Presented by New Holland (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, Sirius XM) after coming in second on the leaderboard with a speed of 133.373 mph (23.618 seconds). Rounding out the top three during the XFINITY Series qualifying session was veteran Brendan Gaughan in his No. 62 Chevrolet (132.861 mph). For his eighth start at Iowa Speedway, Gaughan is looking for his first win at the track. The drivers of the No. 33 Chevrolet, Brandon Jones (132.750 mph), and the No. 54, Drew Herring (132.760 mph), came in fourth and fifth, respectively. Herring was filling in for Erik Jones , who was en route from Pocono Raceway after the Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 150 and was unable to participate in any of the practices or the qualifying round. XFINITY Series points leader, Chris Buescher , was next on the leaderboard as he qualified sixth with a fastest lap of 132.364 mph. Kenny Wallace was right behind Buescher with a strong seventh-place starting spot. Wallace will be racing for the last time as a full-time NASCAR driver Saturday night at Iowa Speedway as he recently announced his retirement. He is looking for his 10th career win. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Takes checkered flag one week after last-lap loss at Indy RELATED: Race results " Series standings NEWTON, Iowa - As the cautions — and wreckage — piled up, Ryan Blaney didn’t blink. Trouble reigned for most in the late tension-filled stages of the U.S. Cellular 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Iowa Speedway, but the driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford remained calm and poised. Seemed so, anyway. “It’s not ideal,” Blaney said of four cautions in the final 20 scheduled laps that interrupted his stirring Saturday night run to Victory Lane. “At all. You have a great car and those late cautions are just chances to give it away.” Not Saturday. Blaney’s turn at the wheel put the Team Penske No. 22 in Victory Lane at Iowa for the third straight August. Brad Keselowski drove it to wins each of the past two seasons. Blaney led an astounding 252 laps of 260, churning out the most dominant performance in his young career and first series win of the season after three runner-up finishes. “It’s crazy that you lead more laps than the race is actually scheduled for,” Blaney’s crew chief, Greg Erwin, said. Crazy indeed, but fitting for Blaney, who felt he had “given away” last weekend’s Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to Kyle Busch , who made a last-lap pass. “It really speaks a lot to this team,” Blaney said. “(They gave me) a great race car.” Regan Smith finished a season-best second and Brian Scott took third. Ty Dillon and Brendan Gaughan — who took a late shot at Blaney that slightly damaged both cars — completed the top five. Blaney simply shined from the start. He swiftly passed Coors Light polesitter Daniel Suarez after the green flag flew and led the first 146 laps — or 50 more than his previous best total he amassed while notching his first series win at Kentucky in 2013. The first hiccup: Trailing Smith for four laps after easing off pit road on Lap 147 slightly behind him. The next green flag erased that issue. On Lap 151 Blaney surged to the front again and set a blistering pace in clean air, virtually unchallenged. But one more pit stop was required and Chase Elliott — who powered to second during the late stages— beat Blaney off pit road. A change in the evening’s balance of power? Hardly. Blaney quickly swept past Elliott and never looked back — except to survey the misfortunes of others. Eight cautions marred the event, with six coming after Lap 205. WATCH: Post-race scuffles on pit road Elliott drew one after contact with Brandon Jones sent him spinning into the wall on Lap 231. He recovered to finish ninth and sits 20 points behind standings leader Chris Buescher , who was collected in the multi-car wreck that came on the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. Buescher settled for 13th. Kenny Wallace , who made his record 547th and final appearance with the series, spun twice. He ended up 15th. Blaney’s No. 22 sustained some damage on the first green-white-checkered attempt as Brendan Gaughan tried to make a run to his low side, but didn’t clear his left rear. No hard feelings, Blaney said. Just good, hard racing. “Wouldn’t want it any other way,” Blaney said. Still, the twisted metal gave Smith hope — until he missed his mark on the final restart. “He went a lot earlier than I anticipated,” said Smith, who notched his best finish this season. “It was my fault for not being ready.” No one could mount much for Blaney all night. Blaney led every green flag lap. He led 160 more laps than he’s ever led in an XFINITY Series race. And his first win of 2015 came at a track where he snared his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win in 2012. “Just a fun place,” said Blaney, whose 252 laps led, unsurprisingly, proved to be a track record. “We’ve always had good runs here.” FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Miss Coors Light , Amanda Mertz, talks with AJ Allmendinger after he captured his first pole of the 2015 season.