RELATED: Full qualifying results Daniel Suarez topped the leaderboard during Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series qualifying at Kentucky Speedway and earned his third Coors Light pole of the season. Suarez covered the 1.5-mile track with a fast lap of 179.856 mph. Joining Suarez on the front row for the Saturday night race will be the No. 2 Chevrolet of Brian Scott who posted a fast lap of 178.855 mph. Scott has been strong all weekend as he was the fastest amongst his competition during both of Friday's practice sessions. Rounding out the top three on the qualifying leaderboard was Regan Smith , who wheeled his No. 7 Chevrolet around the track with a third-fastest lap of 178.719 mph. The No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Ty Dillon (178.353 mpn) and the No. 22 Team Penske Ford of Ryan Blaney (177.895) were fourth and fifth, respectively. The defending race winner, Brendan Gaughan , was sixth-fastest at 177.760 mph in his No. 62 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. On-track action picks back up at Kentucky for the NASCAR XFINITY Series' VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 (200 laps, 300 miles) at 8 p.m. on NBCSN/Live Extra.
RELATED: Live weather updates from Chicagoland " Full lineup JOLIET, Ill. -- Kevin Harvick will start the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup from the same position he ended last year's playoff -- in the No. 1 spot. When torrential rain at Chicagoland Speedway wiped out Friday's time trials at the 1.5-mile track, Harvick earned the Coors Light Pole position for Sunday's myAFibRisk.com 400 (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN) by virtue of having posted the fastest lap during opening practice. With heavy rains forecasted for the afternoon, most drivers focused on mock qualifying runs during practice, anticipating the field for the opening Chase race would be set according to practice speeds. Harvick was the only driver to top 188 mph in the opening session, running a lap at 188.317 mph. Joey Logano , a Championship 4 competitor in 2014, will start on the outside of the front row, after running 187.911 mph in practice. With Brad Keselowski third quickest and Martin Truex Jr . fourth, Chase drivers claimed the top four starting spots and six of the top seven. Ryan Newman will start sixth and Kyle Busch seventh in the 400-mile event. "First off," Harvick said, "I'm just most proud of my team for having a fast race car and coming to the track and having a plan and doing all the things that they did to pay attention to the weather and put a lot of emphasis on trying to lay a fast lap down, just like everybody else, to get a good starting position with the way that the weather was (looking)." Logano and his team spent the entire 85-minute practice session in qualifying trim, expecting time trials to be rained out. "We looked at the forecast and knew there was a good chance of rain," Logano said. "Any time that happens, you focus in on qualifying in practice a little bit more. We haven't been in race trim yet … Really, I felt like it was qualifying during practice. "We were really trying to top the chart, because we really felt like that was where we were going to start -- at the end of practice." Harvick, on the other hand, started in race trim to get a feel for the track before he moved to a qualifying setup. "We started in race trim because (Crew chief) Rodney (Childers) and I felt like this is one of those places … it's a hard place to drive around because it's so rough, and the timing and rhythm of the race track is something that, as a driver, you need to be able to get into that rhythm before you go into qualifying trim." Two Chase drivers who failed to post strong practice speeds -- Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin -- will start 26th and 29th, respectively, in Sunday's race. Other Chasers secured spots on the grid as follows: Kurt Busch (ninth), Jeff Gordon (10th), Jimmie Johnson (11th), Matt Kenseth (12th), Jamie McMurray (13th), Carl Edwards (14th), Paul Menard (16th) and Dale Earnhardt Jr . (19th). A major casualty of the cancellation was Ryan Blaney , who was ninth fastest in opening practice in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford but will not start the race under rainout rules (because of fewer qualifying attempts this year). This is the third time this season Blaney has been knocked out of a race by rain. Michael McDowell and Travis Kvapil also failed to make the 43-car field.
RELATED: Qualifying results LOUDON, N.H. – Posting the fastest lap of Friday’s time trials late in the final round of knockout qualifying at New Hampshire Motor Speedway , Carl Edwards knocked Kevin Harvick off the pole for Sunday’s Sylvania 300 , the second race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Edwards covered the 1.058-mile distance in 27.604 seconds (137.980 mph) to earn his third Coors Light Pole Award of the season, his second at New Hampshire — completing a season sweep of the top starting spot at the Magic Mile — and the 16th of his career. "To be honest, that third round surprised me, how fast we were," said Edwards, who was 11th fastest in the second round. "I think it helped me almost to struggle through the second round, 'cause I thought, 'Aw, heck with it,' and I just kind of went for it in the third round. "The car has a ton of speed. I hate to admit how poorly I drove it the first and second rounds, but I think it really says a lot about how fast the car is." Needing a victory or an extremely high finish to restore his hopes of repeating as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Harvick (137.845 mph) posted a lap .027 seconds slower than that the pole winner to earn the second-place starting spot. "I felt like I probably left those few hundredths of a second not being aggressive enough off the exit of Turn 2, and as good as the car was off of Turn 4," Harvick said. "Small crumbs. It's hard to balance that here, because if you push the car too much, you wind up giving up two or three tenths (of a second) instead of two or three hundredths." Harvick, however, declined to address his confrontation with Jimmie Johnson after last Sunday's Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway . Side-to-side contact with Johnson’s Chevrolet ultimately flattened the left rear tire of Harvick’s No. 4 Chevy, sending him spinning into the Turn 3 wall and relegating him to a 42nd-place finish. That result left Harvick last in the 16-driver Chase standings and incensed at the six-time champion. When Johnson approached the reigning champ in the motor coach lot after the race, Harvick responded with a blow to Johnson’s chest, as one of Harvick’s handlers tried to keep the drivers apart. Asked whether Johnson might have something to worry about in Sunday’s race, Harvick replied, "I don’t look back. I just do what we have to do to focus on what we need to do looking forward. I’m not going to use you guys (the press) to make threats. I can do that myself." Kurt Busch , Harvick’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, qualified third at 137.800 mph, followed by Brad Keselowski (137.671 mph) and Johnson (137.621 mph), as Chase drivers claimed the top five positions on the grid. Non-Chaser Kyle Larson was sixth fastest, while Chase drivers Denny Hamlin , Joey Logano , Ryan Newman , Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr . qualified seventh through 11th, respectively. Other Chase competitors will start as follows: Matt Kenseth , 13th; Kyle Busch , 17th; Paul Menard , 20th; Martin Truex Jr ., 21st; Jamie McMurray , 23rd and Clint Bowyer , 26th. Bowyer was the only Chase driver who failed to advance past the first round. Travis Kvapil failed to make the 43-car field.
RELATED: Full starting lineup Kyle Busch used a fast lap of 180.959 mph in the final round of group qualifying for the NASCAR XFINITY Series to take the Coors Light Pole Award at Chicagoland Speedway for Saturday's Furious 7 300 (6 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The pole is Busch's third of the season in the XFINITY Series and the 46th of his career in the series. In 11 starts at Chicagoland, Busch has three wins, seven top fives and now two poles at the 1.5-mile track. Busch is looking to make it Chicagoland sweep for the No. 54 team in the XFINITY Series. Erik Jones won the June standalone event at Chicagoland piloting the No. 54 Toyota to Victory Lane. Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Matt Kenseth and Daniel Suarez made it a clean sweep of the top three spots in the starting lineup. Kenseth (180.844 mph) will line up in the front row with Busch, while Suarez (180.542 mph) will line up in the third position. Ty Dillon (179.922 mph) will join Suarez in Row 2 for the start of the race. Ryan Blaney (179.892) and Kyle Larson (179.736 mph) will comprise Row 3. Entering Saturday's race, Chris Buescher holds a 21-point edge over defending series champion Chase Elliott and a 27-point lead over Ty Dillon . Elliott did not advance to the final round of group qualifying and will start 17th, while Buescher will line up eighth. Morgan Shepherd did not qualify for the race.
Miss Coors Light , Amanda Mertz, catches up with Carl Edwards the Coors Light Pole Award winner for the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
RELATED: See all 43 cars for Darlington " Full starting lineup DARLINGTON, S.C. – With two races left before the start of the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , Brad Keselowski got the momentum builder he needed with Saturday's pole-winning effort at Darlington Raceway . "Boy, this feels good," said Keselowski, who toured the treacherous 1.366-mile Lady in Black in 27.492 seconds (178.874 mph) to edge Kurt Busch for the top starting spot in Sunday's Bojangles’ Southern 500 (7 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The Coors Light Pole Award was Keselowski's first of the season, his first at Darlington and the ninth of his career. The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion has but one top five to his credit in six previous starts at the track "Too Tough to Tame," but NASCAR’s switch to a low-downforce configuration for this race seemed to suit the driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford. "For my team, we haven't had, to date I would say, as strong of a year as what we had last year, and I think that kind of wears on everybody a little bit, including myself," Keselowski said. "But I feel like we have positive momentum, and you always want to see results that showcase that, and this is one of those results that I feel like we can carry for the next 12 weeks. "I'm just really pleased with today's qualifying effort and the momentum we're carrying." With tire fall-off a clear reality at Darlington, Busch set the fast speed of the time trials in the first round, running 179.501 mph to edge Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (179.389 mph) by .017 seconds. Through each subsequent round, the top speeds declined as tires accumulated wear, with Keselowski leading both the second and final sessions, the latter of which determines the pole winner. Kevin Harvick , last year’s winner from the pole, qualified third at 177.415 mph, followed by Joey Logano (177.319 mph) and Jeff Gordon (177.192 mph). Harvick, though, didn't seem particular worried. "I feel a lot better about it in race trim than I did in qualifying trim," said the reigning Sprint Cup champion. "We try to concentrate on that the most, because there is so much falloff. The cars are going to slide around so much that I really feel like the cars need to be as manageable as you can make them throughout the night. "It's really not about the first two or three laps. You've got to be able to stay in there and be able to maneuver your car and be comfortable and keep it off the wall for at least 400 miles so that you can be around at the end. So, we'll try to take care of our car and make sure we do everything right and get our car adjusted so that we're ready for the last 100 miles of the race." There was plenty of suspense throughout the three rounds of knockout qualifying. Denny Hamlin , pole winner for Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series race at the Lady in Black, had to bump his way into the top 24 late in the opening round. Three-time Darlington winner Jimmie Johnson was the last driver to punch a ticket to the second round, bumping Matt DiBenedetto by .009 seconds for the 24th spot. But Johnson's run ended with a 19th-place run in the second session. Trying to squeeze enough speed out of her No. 10 Chevrolet, Danica Patrick tagged the outside wall during her final run in the first round, forcing the team to roll out a backup car. Accordingly, Patrick will start from the rear of the field on Sunday. RELATED: See Danica hit the wall in qualifying Fast in Friday's practice, Greg Biffle also sustained damage to his No. 16 Ford after contact with the wall in the second round. Biffle was credited with a 24th-place qualifying effort, and his team opted to try to repair the car, rather than resorting to a backup. Note: Josh Wise , Timmy Hill and Travis Kvapil failed to make the 43-car field.
RELATED: See all 43 cars " Starting lineup RICHMOND, Va. – Prodigious qualifier "Front Row Joe" Nemechek has an heir apparent. Call him "Front Row Joey" – as in Logano. The driver of the No, 22 Team Penske Ford won his fifth Coors Light Pole Award of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and his second straight at Richmond International Raceway , edging Matt Kenseth for the top starting spot in Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). In the third and final round of Friday's knockout time trials at the .75-mile short track, Logano covered the distance in 21.349 seconds (126.470 mph) to earn the 13th pole of his career and his 10th front-row starting spot in 26 races this season. Kenseth, who led each of the first two sessions but fell just short in the money round, toured RIR in 21.368 seconds (126.357 mph), claiming his spot on the outside of the front row by a mere .001 seconds over Logano's teammate, Brad Keselowski (126.351 mph). Kyle Busch (125.950 mph) qualified fourth, followed by David Ragan (125.827 mph), the fastest of a gaggle of drivers who can earn a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup only by winning Saturday night's final regular-season race. "It's nice to have a good starting spot here," Logano said. "If you're up front you can take care of your tires better through the first part of the race. That should help us, with the first pit stall, and we'll go let it rip." Kenseth was disappointed at not being able to sweep all three rounds, a failing he attributed to missing his mark in Turns 1 and 2 on the decisive lap. "I didn't get 1 and 2 right," Kenseth acknowledged. "I got a little too aggressive getting back to the gas, and that messed up my center and my exit, and I knew I left all the time there and we weren't really set up to run a fast second lap. "That was kind of it. I feel bad I kind of messed that up, but hopefully we'll have a fast car (on Saturday) night, and we can keep it up front.” Kevin Harvick , Carl Edwards , Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson — all race winners this season — qualified sixth through ninth, respectively. Three other drivers who must win to make the Chase — Tony Stewart , Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon — will start 10th through 12th. "Richmond’s been a difficult track for me in the past," Larson said. 'We've always just been kind of average here. But I feel like our car is way better than it has been in the past. We came here and tested a couple times this year, I think, for Goodyear tire tests, and the last one I thought we got a lot better — both myself and the cars. "So I think we’ll be OK in the race. It's just tough to get to that next step of leading laps and winning races." Timmy Hill and Josh Wise failed to make the 43-car field.
Brad Keselowski takes his throwback No. 2 Ford to the front of the pack and earns the Coors Light Pole Award and a chance to talk with Miss Coors Light , Amanda Mertz.
Miss Coors Light , Amanda Mertz, catches up with Joey Logano, the pole winner for the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
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