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Stenhouse ends drought with Coors Light Pole at Talladega
RELATED: Qualifying results " Buy tickets: Talladega Ricky Stenhouse Jr. scooted to the Coors Light Pole Award on Saturday, topping the rest of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series field at Talladega Superspeedway. Stenhouse navigated the 2.66-mile track with a pole-winning lap of 191.547 mph in the Roush Fenway Racing No. 17 Ford. His first pole of the season was his first at Talladega and the second of his Monster Energy Series career. Stenhouse's other pole in the series came Labor Day weekend in 2013 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "We plan to keep getting better and continue to bring better race cars to the track and go out there and lay it all on the line like we do every week," Stenhouse said of his team's modest uptick in performance. "It's been really fun to drive, real special." Dale Earnhardt Jr., a six-time Talladega winner, qualified second and his Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet will share the front row with Stenhouse for the start of Sunday's GEICO 500 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Earnhardt's final-round lap clocked in at 190.780 mph, a solid .201 seconds behind Stenhouse's pole lap. "We always kind of come down here and find ourselves with an opportunity for the pole," said Earnhardt, who announced April 25 that this season would be his last full-time campaign. "Hopefully, we will get one before the year is out at one of these plate tracks. I know the guys have been so close at Daytona and Talladega for so many years, so it would be great to do it this last season together. Just came up a little short today, but the car is fast and it will be good for Sunday." Brad Keselowski, a four-time winner at Talladega, qualified third in the Team Penske No. 2 Ford. Matt Kenseth, in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) and Trevor Bayne, in the No. 6 RFR Ford, completed the top five. Stenhouse was also fastest in the first of two rounds of qualifying. Denny Hamlin was the last driver to make the 12-car cut for the final round, edging Martin Truex Jr. for that spot by .011 seconds. D.J. Kennington, attempting to make his second Monster Energy Cup start of the season for Gaunt Brothers Racing, was the only driver who failed to qualify for the 40-car field. &amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;
Kevin Harvick earns Coors Light pole at Texas
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Texas RELATED: Qualifying results FORT WORTH, Tex. -- Kevin Harvick needed a do-over in the second round of Friday's knockout qualifying session at Texas Motor Speedway, but putting the extra lap on his tires proved well worth the effort. Harvick led not only the second round but also the first and third in winning the pole for Sunday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (1:30 p.m. ET on FOX). "I just didn't feel like I got through Turns 1 and 2 like I needed to," Harvick said of his first attempt in the second round. "The front took off, and I didn't want to do what everyone was doing in practice and get out of the groove and drive it into the wall. It's been a stressful day, coming in and breaking in a new (resurfaced) race track and going out there running as fast as we had to run for qualifying." In the final round, Harvick secured his second Coors Light Pole Award of the season in the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, the 19th of his career with his fastest lap of the afternoon, covering the distance on the repaved and reconfigured speedway in 27.217 seconds (198.405 mph). That was quick enough to edge Ryan Blaney (198.020 mph) for the top starting spot by .053 seconds. Blaney and Clint Bowyer ran identical times in the final round, with Blaney getting the nod for the second position on the basis of owner points. "Man, I heard that they give you a shotgun when you win the pole here," Blaney said of the coveted qualifying trophy. "I saw my lap and thought that might do it, but Kevin just snuck by us. "I think I have a really fast Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion. It was even good in race trim today. The track has come a long way in a few hours, and hopefully it will widen out even more for the XFINITY race (Saturday) and for our practices. Not a bad start to the weekend." Ford drivers swept the top five starting spots, in part because several of the strongest Chevrolets were out of the equation, having failed to clear pre-qualifying inspection in time to make qualifying runs in the first round. Among the Chevy drivers missing in action were Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series leader Kyle Larson and the Hendrick Motorsports trio of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chase Elliott and Kasey Kahne. Hendrick driver Jimmie Johnson had a different issue. Starting and then aborting a second lap in the first round, Johnson lost control through Turns 1 and 2 and spun, flat-spotting his tires. Since drivers must start the race on their qualifying tires, Johnson sat out the second and third rounds and will start 24th on Sunday. "I think we used up all our good luck at Homestead last year," who won his record-tying seventh title at the South Florida track. "I took the stripe, and we were in position to run two (laps) and see what was going to happen. (Crew chief) Chad (Knaus) called me off when he saw the time. "When I heard that, I dumped the throttle real hard to try and check-up and roll through the center so I could go through the corner slowly; and when I dumped out of the throttle it pitched the car sideways and I started chasing it going into the turn. I thought I had it saved and then I got into all those marbles and kept getting closer to the wall and spun." In addition to Larson and the Hendrick drivers, Kyle Busch and Erik Jones did not advance through inspection in time to qualify. Both suffered accidents in Friday’s opening practice, with Jones going to a backup car and Busch's crew attempting to repair the primary. "We were just behind the eight ball, having to fix that car, so obviously we got in line really late and in our haste, we didn't get our tech blocks set correctly, so we passed templates, passed the grid, passed undercar, passed everything except when we got to the scales, which is the very last thing," said Adam Stevens, Busch's crew chief. "The wedge has to be within a certain number, and we were below that number. That's just for tech -- it's not for on the race track -- so the car was all set to go, and we didn't get a chance to set our tech blocks because we were in such a hurry, so just an error on our part." </p>
Larson right at home with Coors Light Pole at Auto Club
BUY TICKETS: Qualifying results " See every car " Buy tickets for Auto Club WATCH: 1-on-1 conversation with Larson California native Kyle Larson stormed to the Coors Light Pole Award in Friday qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Auto Club Speedway. Larson notched a best lap of 187.047 mph with the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet around the 2-mile track. He'll lead the 39-car field to the green flag in Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the series' fifth race of the season and the closing event in the three-race NASCAR Goes West swing. "Really happy though, our Target team has been amazing to start the season and to get a pole is great," the series points leader said following qualifying. "I haven't gotten a pole since my rookie season. Yeah, this is awesome. "I can't say enough about everybody at our race shop for all the hard work they have been putting in." The Coors Light Pole is Larson's first of the season, first at the home-state speedway and second of his Monster Energy Cup Series career. His other pole came at Pocono Raceway during his rookie season in 2014. MORE: Larson tops first practice, to o Denny Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota will flank Larson's car on the front row after grabbing the second starting position with a lap of 186.979 mph in the last of three qualifying sessions. Hamlin had the provisional pole until Larson knocked him off, leading the JGR driver to playfully fling water at Larson's car as it came back to pit road. Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr. and last week's winner, Ryan Newman, completed the top five in Friday's qualifying. Larson's pole run capped an eventful qualifying session, with five cars failing to make qualifying attempts for different reasons. Jimmie Johnson, a six-time Auto Club winner, crashed his primary No. 48 Chevrolet near the end of opening practice. With no laps on an untested reserve car, the Hendrick Motorsports team opted to skip the session. RELATED: Johnson sits out qualifying Joey Logano, Trevor Bayne, Gray Gaulding and Matt DiBenedetto failed to log speeds in the opening 20-minute round after their cars did not make it to the grid through pre-qualifying inspection. MORE: Logano, more miss qualifying after tech holdups "It happens. We're a team, right?" Logano said after missing out on the first round. "Obviously, everyone's trying to push it and get every ounce of speed out of our cars when we can. I don't even know why we didn't make it through on time. ... No big deal." Keselowski and Paul Menard both drove away after scrapes with the Turn 2 wall during the second of three rounds. Two more practice sessions are scheduled Saturday for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. &lt;/p&gt;
Joey Logano nabs Coors Light Pole at Phoenix
RELATED : Qualifying results " See the full field BUY TICKETS: See the races in Phoenix Joey Logano launched his way to the top of the heap in Coors Light Pole Qualifying on Friday at Phoenix Raceway, claiming the first starting spot for Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event. Logano drove the Team Penske No. 22 Ford to a best lap of 137.321 mph in the last of three rounds of qualifying on the 1-mile track. The pole award was Logano's first of the season, first at the Arizona oval and the 18th of his Monster Energy Series career. Logano is the most recent winner at the 1-mile track, prevailing in the desert last November. "I didn't think it was going to be quite good enough, but I pushed as hard as I could," Logano told FS1 after his fast final lap. "Sometimes you overdrive it a little bit and you still make speed, so proud of this team and proud of this Ford front row. That's a pretty special deal, so excited for the race now." Ryan Blaney will share the front row for Sunday's Camping World 500 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the second event in the three-race NASCAR Goes West swing. He powered the Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford to the second-fastest lap of the final qualifying session at 136.877 mph. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start third in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet after a lap of 136.783 mph. Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Kyle Larson (136.654 mph) and Jamie McMurray (136.302 mph) completed the top five, respectively. Kyle Busch, who won the pole for Phoenix's March date last year, landed the ninth-fastest lap in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota. Kevin Harvick, the defending race winner with eight Phoenix victories in his career, was just 23rd-fastest in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Ford. Martin Truex Jr., last week's winner at Las Vegas, was 16th-fastest in the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota. Both drivers were unable to make the 12-driver cut for the final round of qualifying. A pair of practice sessions are on tap for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Saturday, the final prep for Sunday's 312-mile main event. &lt;/p&gt;
Grala makes hard contact with wall
Kaz Grala gets loose and makes hard contact with the wall in Stage 2 of the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Logano leaps to Coors Light Pole Award at Michigan
RELATED: Qualifying results " See every car, team rosters BROOKLYN, Mich. – If Joey Logano was looking for a good omen for Sunday, he found it on Friday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway . Touring the two-mile track in 35.697 seconds (201.698 mph) during the final round of knockout qualifying for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET on NBCSN), Logano edged Jimmie Johnson (201.523 mph) for the top starting spot by .031 seconds. The Coors Light Pole Award was Logano's third at MIS. On the previous two occasions the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford started first on the grid—in August 2013 and June 2016—he won the subsequent NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Should Logano win form the pole on Sunday, he would be the third driver to win three or more Michigan races from the top starting spot, joining NASCAR Hall of Famers David Pearson and Bill Elliott . "Any time you put your name with a Hall of Famer of any sort, it would be really special for me," said Logano, who has collected three poles this season and 16 in his career. "That's crazy—that's a really, really neat stat. "We've got to do it though. But, obviously, starting up front here is an advantage, for sure. We talk about track position. We talk about safety on restart, being how crazy it is with the low-downforce package. And the first pit stall—probably the most important thing of all is keeping the track position through the race." And, of course, when Logano is fast in qualifying trim at MIS, he usually races well, too. "I'm excited about it," he said. "I thought our car was really fast in race trim earlier (in practice). ... I didn't think we were going to make it happen today (in qualifying), but (crew chief) Todd (Gordon) made some good adjustments, and he gave me a little pep talk, and I was ready to go. I was going to drive the heck out of that thing." Denny Hamlin (201.406 mph) qualified third, followed by Kevin Harvick (201.382 mph) and Chase Elliott (201.303 mph). Johnson's second-place start led a resurgence by Hendrick Motorsports , which placed all four cars in the top 12 during qualifying for only the second time this season, the first coming in May at Talladega, a restrictor-plate track. "It was just an awesome day for this Lowe's race car and this Lowe's race team," Johnson said. "We keep stacking pennies and making this car better and better. "My hat's off to everyone at Hendrick Motorsports and all the hard work they're putting into things. Great practice and great qualifying. We need some more practice sessions (Saturday) and roll them into a good race." Johnson participated in a NASCAR organization test (one car per team) on Tuesday at Chicagoland Speedway and found the session helpful in finding speed. Indeed, the Hendrick cars more than held their own against the four entries from Joe Gibbs Racing , which have been the dominant force in Cup qualifying this season. Hamlin and Carl Edwards (ninth), were the only two JGR drivers to make the top 12, with Matt Kenseth qualifying 13th and Kyle Busch 16th. &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Kurt Busch flies to Coors Light Pole in Vegas
RELATED: See the full field " Starting lineup Hometown favorite Kurt Busch roared to the Coors Light Pole Award in Friday qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . Busch pushed the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet to a fast lap of 196.328 mph, snagging the first starting spot for Sunday's Kobalt 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The pole position was Busch's second of the season, second at the 1.5-mile Sin City track and 21st of his Sprint Cup career. "Man, I wasn't going to lift for anything," Busch said. "I was giving it all I had. I'm really proud of the team to help me get to that third round. I was overdriving the car and I needed to settle in and (crew chief) Tony Gibson made a great adjustment in that last round. I was hoping to put on a show for the home crowd, get the pole, but now we've got to go to work tomorrow. I hope we can get the car dialed in for long run speed for Sunday." Joey Logano qualified for the second starting spot with a best lap of 195.851 mph in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford. Matt Kenseth qualified third in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota. Brad Keselowski , Logano's Penske teammate, secured the fourth starting spot with Austin Dillon completing the top five in the Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet. Kevin Harvick , the defending race winner, was sixth-fastest in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevy. Four-time Vegas winner Jimmie Johnson , who prevailed last week at Atlanta, landed the 11th starting spot in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet. Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin , driving a backup Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 after a crash in Thursday testing, qualified ninth. Carl Edwards failed to advance out of the second of three rounds of elimination-style qualifying after hitting the wall in Turn 2. His Joe Gibbs Racing crew unloaded a reserve car to prepare for Sunday's 400-miler, the third premier-series race of the season. "It hit hard , bounced up the race track and man, that was it," Edwards said after emerging unhurt. RELATED: Edwards to backup car after qualifying wreck The crash was to Brian Vickers ' detriment. The fill-in driver for the injured Tony Stewart in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevy had a fast lap scrubbed off when the red flag flew for Edwards' incident early in the 10-minute segment. Stewart, back at the track for the second straight week as he recovers from a broken vertebra, was seen with crew chief Mike Bugarewicz arguing the team's case to NASCAR officials on pit road. The opening 20-minute qualifying session was also marked by a pair of incidents. Jamie McMurray tagged the outside wall at Turn 4's exit with his Chip Ganassi Racing No. 1 Chevrolet. And Keselowski's crew was forced to change a tire on the Team Penske No. 2 Ford after a piece of stray metal caused a flat. The team was allowed to make the adjustment between rounds without penalty. Busch, a Las Vegas native, also earned the designation of fastest qualifier with a best lap of 196.378 mph in the opening session, a shade better than his pole-winning lap. Busch's speed eclipsed the former track record of 194.678 mph set by Jeff Gordon at the 1.5-mile venue last March.
Kyle Busch wins Coors Light Pole Award at Phoenix
RELATED: Complete lineup " See every paint scheme for Sunday AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Running the fastest lap of the day when it counted most, Kyle Busch paced a Joe Gibbs Racing sweep of the top three starting spots for Sunday's Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Busch covered the one-mile distance in 26.014 seconds (138.387 mph) in Friday's final round of knockout qualifying, a session interrupted by Jimmie Johnson's hard wreck against the Turn 2 wall. The Coors Light Pole Award was Busch's first of the season (after an inspection failure cost him the top starting spot at Atlanta), his third at Phoenix and the 18th of his career. "It was a good day," Busch said. "Unloading off the truck, everything seemed to go real well. I wasn't sure about our speed in race trim, but then hopped over to qualifying trim and, for as not as good of a feel that the car had, we had some good speed, so that was definitely a plus -- being able to have some good laps there and being able to run a really good lap there in the last session." Carl Edwards (137.515 mph) was second fastest in the final round, followed by JGR teammate Denny Hamlin (137.426 mph). Kurt Busch (137.394 mph), trying for his third straight pole, will start fourth in Sunday's race. Johnson earned the fifth position on the grid with his first lap in the final round, but the six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion went to a backup car after his wreck and will drop to the rear of the field for the start of the race. Johnson initially said said he wasn’t sure what made his car drive straight into the Turn 2 wall, although he later confirmed his steering wheel came off. "Certainly, a lot of 'straight' in an area of the track that I didn't need to have straight," he said. "So, we'll have to get to the bottom of it and see what went on. But, just a really hard impact to the outside wall. "I'm thankful that we have SAFER barriers and soft walls. I'm very disappointed, because we had a very fast race car, and the guys have been working so hard to get this thing tuned-up. Thankfully, we have tomorrow to work on the back-up car and try to get it up to speed and get it going, but this is certainly not what we wanted right now." Johnson's crash wasn't the only calamity in what was a bizarre qualifying session for Hendrick Motorsports. Kasey Kahne's engine caught fire after the driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet posted the third fastest lap in the opening round. Forced to change engines after smoke spewed from the air cleaner for several minutes. Kahne will join Johnson at the rear of the field for the start of Sunday’s race. The team surmised later that the engine went into EFI (electronic fuel injection) protection mode and blew up. Kahne was mystified by the problem but said the engine had continued to run after he attempted to shut it off. Kevin Harvick, who has won three of the last four NASCAR Sprint Cup races at PIR, will have to charge from mid-pack after qualifying 18th on Friday. "We’ve just been off in qualifying every week so far," Harvick said. "Just not hitting the balance from practice to qualifying."
Biffle earns first Coors Light Pole Award of '16 at Daytona
RELATED: Starting lineup " See all 40 cars DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Greg Biffle came out of nowhere. Winless since 2013 and without a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole since the fall Charlotte race in 2012, the driver of the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford scorched Daytona International Speedway on Friday to claim the top starting spot for Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 (at 7:45 p.m. ET on NBC). In the second and final round of knockout qualifying, Biffle toured the 2.5-mile restrictor-plate track in 46.643 seconds (192.955 mph) to wrestle the Coors Light Pole Award from former RFR teammate Carl Edwards (192.748 mph) by .050 seconds. The pole was Biffle’s second at a plate track, the first coming when he led the field to green in the 2004 Daytona 500 , not quite eight months after Biffle won the only plate race of his career -- the 2003 Coke Zero 400 . Both were career-firsts for the Biff. All told, Biffle has won 13 poles in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but Friday’s was particularly significant because of the boost it give his organization, which has been struggling for the past few years to find speed in the wake of the departure of veterans Matt Kenseth and Edwards to Joe Gibbs Racing . "It is a huge confidence-builder, and coming out of here with a good finish, that’s a lot of momentum for the team," Biffle said. "Qualifying on the pole, getting a good run and moving on to the next race -- we need that. "We need those good finishes and momentum and encouragement. Winning the pole is all smiles on those guys pushing the car up there and getting the pictures. They’re pumped right now. We’ll be ready to go tomorrow night." In a backup car with no practice laps because of a wreck in Saturday morning’s practice, Kyle Busch (192.336 mph) qualified third. Biffle’s teammate, Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (192.320 mph), earned the fourth starting spot, followed by Brad Keselowski (192.254 mph) and Austin Dillon (192.254 mph), who lost the fifth spot to Keselowski on an owner points tiebreaker. Defending race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr . failed to make the top 12 and will start 16th. Jimmie Johnson (eighth) was the only Hendrick Motorsports driver to advance to the second round, just as Kurt Busch (10th) was the only Stewart-Haas Racing entry to do so. Earnhardt, however, wasn’t particularly concerned about his starting position. "I think we’ll be good," he said. "We worked on our car to try and help it drive better. That might take some straight-line speed out of it, but it’s going to hopefully help us be able to make moves we need to make in the race. "It's going to be slick in the race, and handling is going to be real important. I'm more concerned really with the car driving good. Might not be the fastest car out there, (but) that's not the car that is going to win the race. I think (that’s going to be) the guy that's got the best handling package. This place is going to be pretty slick." Biffle was fastest in both rounds of qualifying, pacing the first session at 192.629 mph. "After that first session, I knew we had to be worried about (Greg)," Edwards said. "We ran a really good lap in the second session, but those guys were fast. They put the hard work in, they deserve it and I know how hard those guys work over there. "And I guess in a way, it’s cool to see them have success. You hate to get beat by anyone, but knowing those guys and knowing how much they work, it’s good to see them have this day."
Carl Edwards nabs Coors Light Pole Award at Bristol
RELATED: Complete lineup for Bristol " See every car in the field BRISTOL, Tenn. – Denny Hamlin owns a new track record, but Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Carl Edwards won the round that counted in Friday’s knockout qualifying session at Bristol Motor Speedway . Edwards sped around the .533-mile high-banked concrete short track in 14.602 seconds (131.407 mph) to claim the top starting spot for Saturday's Bass Pro Shops NRA night Race (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), edging Hamlin (131.200 mph) by .023 seconds. Remarkably, Edwards earned his fifth Coors Light Pole Award of the season, his fourth at Bristol and the 21st of his career without making a mock qualifying run during either of Friday's two practice sessions. Instead, the driver of the No. 19 Toyota relied on setup information from his teammates – including Hamlin. "It's nice to have fast teammates," said Edwards, who will try to duplicate his pole-winning, race-winning performance from April. "We wouldn't have had a shot at (the pole) if it wasn’t for them. We thought it was going to rain, so we didn't practice qualifying or anything. My guys made great adjustments based on that information. "I just hope we can finish it off the way we did in the spring." All four JGR drivers qualified in the top five for the 23rd NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season. Kyle Busch (130.931 mph) will start third and Matt Kenseth (130.619 mph) fifth. The only interloper was Ford driver Ryan Blaney (130.637 mph), who grabbed the fourth spot on the grid in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Fusion. With a blistering run in 14.573 seconds (131.668 mph) in the first round, Hamlin broke the track record he set for this event last year, eclipsing his own mark of 14.602 seconds (131.407 mph). But Hamlin was the last of 12 drivers out for the final round and fell just short of Edwards' winning time. "We had really good speed, so I'm pretty optimistic about that," said Hamlin, who will start within the top six for the 15th time this season. "I can't believe we've qualified as good as we have this year and not gotten a pole. "It's unbelievable – still a great effort by our whole team. I hope we can have a great race up here on (Saturday) night and get in Victory Lane." Chris Buescher , fighting to crack the top 30 in the standings and qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup (based on his victory at Pocono), qualified 12th, one position behind Jeff Gordon , who made the final round for the first time in his fourth start in place of Dale Earnhardt Jr . Gordon's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott had the fastest Chevrolet, qualifying sixth. &amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;gt;