Tifft, Wallace top XFINITY practices at Talladega
Practice 2: Results Matt Tifft kicked off the weekend strong, topping final NASCAR XFINITY Series practice at Talladega Superspeedway . Tifft, who was wheeling the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, earned a fastest lap of 181.918 mph. Next was the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Ty Dillon (181.515 mph), last week's Dash 4 Cash winner. Rounding out the top three was the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Brandon Jones (180.346 mph). The No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Daniel Suarez , the current points leader, and No. 51 Chevrolet of Jeremy Clements were fourth and fifth, respectively. The defending race winner Joey Logano finished the 55-minute session 33rd (153.787 mph). Practice 1: Results Darrell Wallace Jr . scooted to the top spot in opening NASCAR XFINITY Series practice Friday at Talladega Superspeedway . Wallace wheeled the Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford to a best lap of 192.413 mph around the 2.66-mile track. He vaulted to the top of the leaderboard with an aerodynamic boost from teammate Ryan Reed , who clocked the second-fastest lap at 192.355 mph in Roush Fenway's No. 16 Ford . Ty Dillon , last week's winner of the Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus from the series sponsor, was third-fastest at 191.827 mph in the Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet. Matt Tifft (191.670 mph) was fourth-best in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota with Austin Dillon (190.601) completing the top five in Childress' No. 2 Chevy in early prep for Saturday's Sparks Energy 300 event (3 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Series points leader Daniel Suarez , in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota, wound up 10th of the 43 drivers to turn laps in the opening 55-minute session. Sprint Cup regular Joey Logano , the defending race winner, was 18th-best in Team Penske 's No. 22 Ford .
Ford EcoBoost 300 entry list
See who will be on track at Homestead in the final Nationwide Series race RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Entry # Driver Owner Crew chief Manufacturer Sponsor 1 01 Landon Cassill Johnny Davis Dave Fuge 14 Chevrolet Flex Seal 2 2 Brian Scott Richard Childress Phil Gould 14 Chevrolet Shore Lodge 3 3 Ty Dillon Richard Childress Danny Stockman Jr 14 Chevrolet WESCO 4 4 Jeffrey Earnhardt Gary Keller Gary Cogswell 14 Chevrolet GCL/Polyglass 5 5 Josh Berry Rick Hendrick Ernie Cope 14 Chevrolet Ragu 6 6 Trevor Bayne Jack Roush Chad Norris 14 Ford AdvoCare 7 7 Regan Smith Kelley Earnhardt-Miller Ryan Pemberton 14 Chevrolet TaxSlayer.com 8 9 Chase Elliott Dale Earnhardt Jr Greg Ives 14 Chevrolet NAPA AUTO PARTS 9 10 Ross Chastain(i) Mark Smith Bruce Cook 14 Toyota watermelon.org 10 11 Elliott Sadler J D Gibbs Chris Gayle 14 Toyota OneMain Financial 11 12 Ryan Blaney(i) Roger Penske Greg Erwin 14 Ford Discount Tire 12 14 Eric McClure Mark Smith Wes Ward 14 Toyota Hefty Ultimate / Reynolds Wrap 13 16 Ryan Reed Jack Roush Seth Barbour 14 Ford ADA Drive to Stop Diabetes presented by Lilly Diabetes 14 17 Tanner Berryhill Adrian Berryhill Daniel Stillman 14 Toyota New Gulf Resources 15 19 Mike Bliss Mark Smith Paul Clapprood 14 Toyota Tweaker Energy Shot 16 20 Matt Kenseth(i) Joe Gibbs Kevin Kidd 14 Toyota GameStop 17 22 Brad Keselowski(i) Roger Penske Jeremy Bullins 14 Ford Hertz 18 23 Robert Richardson Jr Robert Richardson Sr George Church 14 Chevrolet TBD 19 25 John Wes Townley(i) Tony Townley Mike Ford 14 Toyota No. 25 Zaxby's Toyota 20 226 Jake Crum(i) Marc Browning Marc Browning 14 Chevrolet MyFreedomSmokes.com 21 28 J J Yeley James Whitener Steve Plattenberger 13 Dodge Texas 28 Spirits Stage 22 31 Dylan Kwasniewski Steve Turner Shannon Rursch 14 Chevrolet Rockstar / AccuDoc 23 33 Scott Lagasse Jr Richard Childress Nick Harrison 14 Chevrolet Grainger 24 36 TBA Beth Baldwin Zach McGowan 14 Chevrolet Accell / East West 25 39 Ryan Sieg Rod Sieg Kevin Starland 14 Chevrolet Huntinator 26 40 Matt Dibenedetto Curtis Key Sr Kyle Symington 14 Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 27 42 Kyle Larson(i) Harry Scott Jr Scott Zipadelli 14 Chevrolet Cartwheel by Target 28 43 Dakoda Armstrong Richard Petty Philippe Lopez 14 Ford WinField 29 44 Blake Koch Mark Smith Greg Conner 14 Toyota Celsius Flo Fusion 30 46 Ryan Ellis Curtis Key Sr Gary Showalter 14 Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 31 51 Jeremy Clements Tony Clements Ricky Pearson 14 Chevrolet All South Electric- Repairable Vehicals 32 52 Joey Gase Jimmy Means Tim Brown 14 Chevrolet TBA 33 54 Kyle Busch(i) J D Gibbs Adam Stevens 14 Toyota Monster Energy 34 55 David Starr Jimmy Dick Jason Miller 14 Chevrolet Niece Eqiupment 35 60 Chris Buescher Jack Roush Scott Graves 14 Ford Humalog 36 62 Brendan Gaughan Richard Childress Shane Wilson 14 Chevrolet South Point 37 70 Derrike Cope Mary Louise Miller Bobby Burrell 14 Chevrolet Charlie's Soap/YOUTHEORY 38 172 John Jackson James Carter Richard Garcia 14 Chevrolet Crash Claims R US 39 74 Kevin Lepage Mike Harmon Gary Ritter 12 Dodge MHR 40 87 Milka Duno Andrea Nemechek Steven Gray 14 Toyota CAN TV 41 190 Martin Roy Michelle Gosselin Mario Gosselin 14 Chevrolet Gamache Truck Center 42 91 Jeff Green Mark Smith Todd Myers 14 Toyota SupportMilitary.org 43 93 Kevin Swindell Gregg Mixon Ken Evans 13 Dodge JGL Racing 44 98 Corey LaJoie(i) Fred Biagi Jon Hanson 14 Ford Medallion Financial/Smithfield 45 99 James Buescher Robby Benton Matthew Lucas 14 Toyota Rheem MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Post-Race Reactions: Ford 300
The top finishers, championship runner-up and rookie of the year Timmy Hill comment on the Ford 300 and their seasons.
Sprint Cup qualifying order for Talladega
# Car Driver Team 1 7 Regan Smith Golden Corral Chevrolet 2 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger/Hungry Jack/Crisco Chevrolet 3 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet 4 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet 5 83 Matt DiBenedetto Dustless Blasting Toyota 6 46 Michael Annett Pilot Flying J Chevrolet 7 30 * Josh Wise Curtis Key Plumbing Chevrolet 8 32 Bobby Labonte Rimrock Devlin Ford 9 23 David Ragan Schluter Systems Toyota 10 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Nationwide Chevrolet 11 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford 12 43 Aric Almirola Fresh From Florida Ford 13 14 Ty Dillon (i) Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet 14 15 Clint Bowyer AccuDoc Solutions Chevrolet 15 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet 16 34 Chris Buescher # Love's Travel Stops/CSX-Play it Safe Ford 17 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Fifth Third Bank Ford 18 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota 19 19 Carl Edwards ARRIS Toyota 20 78 Martin Truex Jr Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota 21 20 Matt Kenseth Dollar General Toyota 22 44 Brian Scott # Twisted Tea Ford 23 38 Landon Cassill FR8Auctions Ford 24 3 Austin Dillon Dow - Energy & Water/Intellifresh Chevrolet 25 98 * Cole Whitt RticCoolers.com Toyota 26 27 Paul Menard Moen/Menards Chevrolet 27 18 Kyle Busch Skittles Marvel Toyota 28 35 * David Gilliland Shaw's Southern Belle Seafood Ford 29 21 * Ryan Blaney # Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 30 55 * Michael Waltrip Peak & BlueDEF Toyota 31 16 Greg Biffle Ford EcoBoost Ford 32 95 Michael McDowell Thrivent Financial Chevrolet 33 42 Kyle Larson Target Chevrolet 34 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 35 13 Casey Mears GEICO Chevrolet 36 4 Kevin Harvick Busch Fishing Chevrolet 37 6 Trevor Bayne AdvoCare Ford 38 10 Danica Patrick Aspen Dental Chevrolet 39 41 Kurt Busch Monster Energy Chevrolet 40 24 Chase Elliott # NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 41 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald's Chevrolet * Required to qualify on time, (i) Ineligible for driver points in this series
Logano leads final practice, No. 14 team practices switch
Practice 2: Full results Joey Logano launched to the fastest speed in final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Friday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway . Logano, winner of the series' most recent race here last October, posted a best lap of 196.290 mph in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford . He was just .013 seconds ahead of Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Ryan Blaney , second-fastest at 196.238 mph in the Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford . Fellow rookie Chase Elliott was third-fastest at 196.185 mph in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet. Danica Patrick (195.094 mph) and rookie Brian Scott completed the top five in the final 55-minute prep for Sunday's GEICO 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Few drivers participated in large packs, with most spending time concentrating on single-car runs to prepare for Saturday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying (12:30 p.m. ET, FOX). But with inclement weather in Saturday's forecast, several drivers attempted to better their position in the practice order should qualifying be washed out. Among those was Blaney, one of five drivers attempting to qualify for the four starting berths reserved for open, non-chartered teams. He received aerodynamic help from Logano, whose Penske team shares an alliance with the Wood Brothers, a fellow Ford operation. Ty Dillon , on standby for Tony Stewart in his second race back from a back injury, was 16th-fastest in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet. The team spent the majority of the session practicing in the garage for a quick driver change, something the team plans to do midstream in Sunday's 500-miler as Stewart eases his way back from his injuries. Defending race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr . was seventh-fastest at 193.584 mph around the 2.66-mile track. Practice 1: Full results Two-time Talladega Superspeedway winner Jamie McMurray topped opening practice. The wheelman of the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet posted a fastest lap of 199.737 mph. Rookie Chase Elliott was second-fastest during the 55-minute session, propelling the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet around the 2.66-mile track at 199.729 mph. Stewart-Haas Racing 's Kurt Busch rounded out the top three with his No. 41 coming in at 199.409 mph. Busch's teammate Danica Patrick was next in her No. 10 Chevrolet (199.384 mph) while the No. 6 of Trevor Bayne earned the fifth-quickest lap (199.317 mph). The back-to-back race winner of 2016, Carl Edwards was 23rd (196.552 mph) in his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Tony Stewart and Ty Dillon took turns wheeling the No. 14 throughout practice and earned 29th (195.884 mph). Dillon will fill in as a relief driver for "Smoke" during qualifying and the 500-mile event. Six-time Talladega winner, and defending race champ, Dale Earnhardt Jr . finished practice 32nd (195.150 mph).
Theriault, Cindric to take turns in BKR's third truck
Brad Keselowski Racing announced Thursday that it plans to field a third truck in two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races in May. BKR plans to field the No. 2 Ford for Austin Cindric on May 13 at Dover International Raceway and for Austin Theriault on May 20 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . The two will race alongside the Statesville, North Carolina-based team's two full-time drivers -- Daniel Hemric and Tyler Reddick . The 17-year-old Cindric is scheduled to make just his third Camping World Truck Series start. He was 25th (Martinsville) and 14th (Phoenix) driving BKR's No. 29 Ford in two appearances near the end of last season. "A track called the 'Monster Mile' shouldn't be taken lightly," Cindric said in a news release provided by the team. "They tell me that the two truck races that I was able to do last year at Martinsville and Phoenix were difficult tracks to figure out, and I believe Dover will be the same. As I haven't been able to test, I've been watching as much video as possible while reaching out to as many people as I can to pick their brain about what it takes to be fast at Dover. I'm just going in with no expectations, trying to absorb as much information as possible and have fun with it." Theriault, 22, will be making his second start of the year after placing a crash-related 27th in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway . He also made nine starts for BKR last season, recording two top-five finishes (Daytona, Texas). "I was really proud of the effort at Daytona and how strong our performance was, and I feel like Charlotte won't be any different," Theriault said. "I'm going there with the expectation to win. I know we will have a strong Ford F-150 race truck at Charlotte and we plan to perform well, just like we did earlier this year at Daytona. At the end of the day, we want to win, and we have all the resources here at BKR to do just that at Charlotte."
Keselowski and Hendrick: What might have been
On April 18, 2009, Mark Martin won the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway . It was the 36th NASCAR premier series win for the 50-year-old driver and his first with team owner Rick Hendrick. A week and a day later, Brad Keselowski won the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway . It was the first career win for the 25-year-old, and the first premier series victory for independent car owner James Finch. Two distinctly different races won by two distinctly different drivers. Martin's NASCAR career was beginning to wind down; Keselowski's, on the other hand, appeared to have only just begun. But there was one string that tied the two together -- Hendrick Motorsports . HMS was home to Martin, Jimmie Johnson , Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr . And it was expected by many to be the future home of the up-and-coming kid from Rochester Hills, Michigan. But a collection of factors that came together throughout the course of that season altered the racing landscape as well as the career path of Keselowski. It would be nearly three years before the next driver change at HMS. By then Keselowski had not only found a new home, but he was also on his way to winning the Sprint Cup championship. 'I WAS NOT GOING TO LOSE' The sun was out and the grandstands were packed when the 2009 Aaron's 499, the season's ninth Sprint Cup race, went green for the final time. As race leader Ryan Newman tried to keep Earnhardt Jr., the crowd favorite, in check, Keselowski darted to the inside behind Carl Edwards on the track's massive backstretch. It was a move that didn’t seem to mean much at the time. But at the start-finish line with two laps remaining, Edwards and Keselowski shot to the outside entering Turn 1. "Here they come; look at the 99 and ..." NASCAR on FOX analyst Darrell Waltrip began. " Brad Keselowski ," lead announcer Mike Joy and co-analyst Larry McReynolds chimed in. When the white flag appeared, Edwards and Keselowski had caught and were beginning to pull away from Newman and Earnhardt Jr. Racing back through the tri-oval, Keselowski turned his No. 09 Chevrolet to the outside, and then quickly dropped to the bottom as Edwards moved up to block. Realizing the bottom lane was now open, Edwards reacted quickly -- but not quickly enough. Contact sent the No. 99 Ford spinning. Edwards' car came off the track briefly and was beginning to settle back onto the track it was struck by Newman's Chevrolet. The impact sent Edwards roof-first into the frontstretch catch fence. Meanwhile, Keselowski kept his foot in the gas, racing across the finish line for the win just ahead of Earnhardt Jr. "I was not going to lose," Keselowski said in his post-race winner's interview. "I was not going to lift and (I was going to) hold my ground and consequences be damned." A full-time competitor at the time for JR Motorsports (which, coincidentally, counts Earnhardt Jr. and Hendrick among its ownership group) in what is now the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Keselowski said he didn't know what the future held after his first premier series win. "I know I don't have anything locked in," he said. "That's really all I can say ... I don't have a job secured for next year, and everything to this point has been wait-and-see. I know this certainly can't hurt." But behind the scenes, moves were already underway. Finch's Phoenix Racing, which purchased it engines from HMS, had put Keselowski in the car at the suggestion of Hendrick. And the JRM/Hendrick pipeline, which grooms talent in the lower series to help restock the Sprint Cup program, was taking root. Keselowski had made two starts for Hendrick the previous year, and would make seven all together in '09, in addition to five races with Finch. Perhaps his future wasn't as cloudy as it appeared. "Rick had come out and told me, actually had made it a point to say to the media that he thought I was a future driver at Hendrick," Keselowski told NASCAR.com recently. There was only one problem. SWAN SONG? On July 4, 2008, HMS officials announced that Martin had signed a two-year agreement to drive the organization's No. 5 Chevrolet. According to the news release, Martin, who would run a full schedule in 2009, would "run a partial Sprint Cup schedule ... in 2010, sharing the No. 5 Chevy with a to-be-determined second driver.” By most accounts, that driver was expected to be Keselowski. But in May of '09, less than three weeks after Martin's Phoenix victory, HMS officials announced a revision to the '08 agreement. The veteran driver would return in 2010 to once again run the entire season. With Keselowski waiting in the wings and Martin winning and agreeing to return the following year, "Rick was kind of half pregnant," Keselowski said. "He (was) stuck. "My feeling was, after I had won Talladega, I'm going to get this 5 car ride partially next year, pair it with something else, let's go. I didn't know what it was going to be. We'll figure it out; let's go." A phone call and subsequent meeting with Hendrick, however, changed all that. "I was kind of expecting more of a 'Hey, we're going to expedite the process of clearing out the rest of this,' " Keselowski said of the meeting, "And instead I got a 'Hey, I don't have a ride for you. You need to figure something else out. I'll try to help.' "That was late April, early May of that year. My intent ... was to give him that time to kind of make right on it somehow, find a ride because he had made me the promise that I would have that car. It didn't sit all that well, but I understood the circumstances and so forth." Months passed and Keselowski busied himself with his full-time XFINITY Series effort at JRM while making a handful of Sprint Cup starts for Hendrick and Finch. Hendrick, in the meantime, was exploring the various avenues that might keep Keselowski in the HMS camp. Possible scenarios included Stewart-Haas Racing , at the time a two-team effort, and Red Bull Racing. Consideration was even given to fielding a Sprint Cup entry out of the JR Motorsports shop, according to the owner. But the pieces didn't fit and as the summer wore on, Keselowski's future remained uncertain. "I wanted him to wait a year," Hendrick told NASCAR.com. "... I don't remember all the details, but I do remember that Mark had done so well, and I had tried to talk (Mark) into staying. "I've told all our guys, the first time I sat down with Brad he impressed me because he was so intense about the whole car and wanted to be involved in everything. He was just so committed. I told our guys he's got the right attitude about racing and driving. I just needed him to wait." Waiting, though, wasn't part of Keselowski's plan. "My perception is a driver is a lot like a perishable fruit," Keselowski said. "You've got so much time, then he spoils and goes bad. There are a lot of variables, much like anything." PENSKE COMES CALLING The Keselowski family has always been involved in racing. Brad's father Bob was an ARCA Series standout and a former winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Ron Keselowski, an uncle, scored two top-five finishes in 68 premier series starts while older brother Brian Keselowski has one or more starts in all three of NASCAR's national series. "We knew the Keselowski name from being here in Detroit," Walt Czarnecki, an executive vice president at Penske Corp., said. "His dad, his uncle, all that. They would run out at MIS ( Michigan International Speedway ) when (Penske) owned the track." But it was a business associate, lawyer/agent John Caponigro, who brought up the young driver's name during a conversation in 2009. "We thought he was committed to Hendrick," Czarnecki said. "He'd been on loan to James Finch to run several races. But some things were changing." Conversations with Keselowski ensued, in Michigan as well as Mooresville, North Carolina, where Team Penske is headquartered. "All this time," Czarnecki said, "Still having this somewhat uncertain situation with Mr. Hendrick." Team Penske had grown from a two-team to a three-team organization in '08, fielding cars for drivers Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman and Sam Hornish Jr . In '09 Newman departed to join owner/driver Tony Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing and 32-year-old David Stremme was brought on board to fill the open seat. But the Keselowski opportunity was intriguing, according to Czarnecki. "We've tried to sign on what we consider to be the best available young drivers with a great deal of potential that we could mold and have them grow in our organization," he said. "And I think that Brad certainly fit that description. "But above and beyond that, he had a bigger vision as to what role he wanted to play in terms of the development of the team. ... Just how he saw different things coming together ... "Some of it may have been a little unrealistic; some of it was certainly the enthusiasm of a young man who had a goal in mind. ... But he had this great enthusiasm and he had this great desire and this great commitment. And that appealed to us." With the Hendrick effort seemingly stalled, Keselowski went back to Penske with a request -- to compete full-time in both the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series. In addition to its Sprint Cup effort, Team Penske was fielding one full-time XFINITY Series team with driver Justin Allgaier . Expanding that program to two teams running all the races was problematic, given the economy at the time. Told such a scenario was unlikely, Keselowski was left to consider his few available options. But Penske officials continued to work until enough of the appropriate pieces were in place. "Sure enough, Roger called me one night and said 'Alright, I've got it put together,' " Keselowski said. "It kind of caught me off guard. I was sold. That's it; he made it happen." "I couldn't sit around and wait. ... Roger had gone above and beyond to put something together that I felt like was the opportunity I needed. ... The economy was on its way down fast; Roger (through his various businesses) had a lot of immunities to the economy. Rick made it very clear to me that he was not going to invest himself without having a sponsor, and the economy was not in a spot where he could facilitate that." Hendrick had been aware of the Penske interest from the beginning, having had conversations with his fellow team owner about Keselowski's status. "Roger called me and asked me could he talk to him," Hendrick said. "I didn't want to stand in his way. Brad's a hell of a talent. It was a timing issue. "It's worked out for him. At his age it would have been nice if we could have kept him. ... If I got a call from Roger and I was in his spot I would have done exactly what he did." POSTSCRIPT On Sept. 1, 2009, Team Penske officials announced that the organization had signed Keselowski to compete full-time in both the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series beginning the following season. Since then, Keselowski has won 17 Sprint Cup races, 28 XFINITY Series races and championships in both series. "I don't want to sound mercenary but he brought us our first Sprint Cup championship (in 2012)," Czarnecki said. "Because that vision that he outlined, we tried to work with him and bring people along, bring people into the organization, have him work with people like (crew chief) Paul Wolfe, it was really the realization of that vision. That's what it (has) meant. "And his intensity hasn't changed." Former teammates Busch and Hornish have departed, and fellow driver AJ Allmendinger has come and gone. Keselowski, now 32, is the veteran of a Penske group that now includes 25-year-old teammate Joey Logano . "I wasn’t looking to switch," Keselowski said. "If things would have gone the way they were supposed to go before Mark won that race at Phoenix, I would still be there."
Matt Tifft earns 21 Means 21 Pole Award at 'Dega
RELATED: Full lineup Matt Tifft topped the leaderboard during Saturday's single-car qualifying session to earn the 21 Means 21 Pole Award at Talladega Superspeedway . Tifft, in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, posted a fastest lap of 181.168 mph. Tifft's teammate Daniel Suarez will join him on the front row for the Sparks Energy 300 after posting the second-fastest lap during the two-round single-car qualifying event (180.846 mph). Rounding out the top three was the No. 2 of Austin Dillon , soaring around the 2.66-mile track at 180.506 mph. The third JGR entry Erik Jones was fourth-quickest, logging a fast lap of 180.366 mph. Next was the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Ty Dillon (180.217 mph), rounding out the top five. Defending race winner Joey Logano will start on the fourth row in eighth (178.817 mph). Josh Reaume , Derrike Cope and Mike Harmon failed to qualify for the 40-car event. The 300 -mile event is set for 3 p.m. ET (FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The Rundown: Texas driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " Chase Grid Below is a breakdown of how the 40-car field fared at Texas Motor Speedway . 1. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Can anyone stop the 2015 Sprint Cup Series champion? Busch didn't dominate the entire race in Texas, but leapt to the lead when it counted -- on the final restart with 33 laps remaining -- and stayed there until the checkered flag. He's won the last four national series races and seems unbeatable right now. Grade: A+ 2. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Junior is still lacking his first win of the season, but by passing Joey Logano with eight laps remaining and overcoming a brief pit stall fire, he earned his second runner-up finish. All that talk this week of bananas and mayonnaise didn't deter from a strong showing for a car that started 16th. Grade: A 3. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford , Team Penske . Despite starting on the front row, Logano still is searching for his first win of the season. He was solidly in the top 10 throughout most of the race, slipping to as low as 14th just before the midpoint. But he jumped from 10th on Lap 200 to sixth on a restart on Lap 220 and stayed near the front for his sixth top-five finish at Texas Motor Speedway . Grade: A- 4. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson couldn't extend his Texas winning streak to four straight races, but the fact he was able to rebound from his involvement in a 13-car crash on Lap 293 and a pit-road collision with Kyle Busch on Lap 31 showed that he's still a threat in any race. Grade: A 5. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . The rookie started at the rear when he changed his transmission, but still managed his best finish of the season -- and his first top-five result in the Cup series. His decision to take four tires on the final pit stop was the difference in helping him surge into the top five. Grade: A 6. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . Truex consistently had the fastest car all weekend in Texas, and led a race-high 141 laps. But the decision to stay out on four old tires -- when all other leaders pitted in the final two cautions -- pushed him back from the lead in the final 33 laps. Grade: B- 7. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . The pole-sitter led 124 laps, but a loose wheel on the Lap 221 restart forced him to pit, and he never fully recovered. Still, it was Edwards' sixth top-10 finish in seven races this season. Grade: B+ 8. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . A car that has struggled all season found some late-race magic. First, Kahne was the lucky-dog beneficiary on a Lap 277 caution, then he made contact with Greg Biffle on Lap 287, which sent the No. 16 car into the wall but helped Kahne surge into the top 10 for the final restart. Grade: B+ 9. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch was without crew chief Tony Gibson for all but race day in Texas as Gibson was tending to his ill wife, and the No. 41 car struggled to find the right combination. Busch said he was loose all through practices but tight during the race. A solid final restart helped him grab his fifth top-10 finish of the season. Grade: B 10. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick is now 0-for-27 in Cup at Texas, one of the few tracks that vexes the dominant driver. This time, he had to rebound from a speeding and tire violation on Lap 217 just to make his way into the top 10. Grade: B- 11. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth's bad-luck streak continued this season. He led 20 laps, including from Lap 217-235, but a problem with a loose rear tire forced an unscheduled pit stop that knocked him out of the top 10. Grade: B- 12. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin started sixth, and made it to as high as third late in the race but slipped outside the top 10 in the final 20 laps. Grade: C+ 13. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray started 18th and worked his way up to fifth mid-race. In the end, he logged his second top-15 showing of the season. Grade: C+ 14. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson steadily worked his way up throughout the race, starting 20th and eventually finding himself in the top 15 by Lap 300 . Grade: B- 15. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford , Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne led for 12 laps -- the first time he's led a race since May 4, 2014 at Talladega. He was involved in the 13-car wreck on Lap 293, however, and the best he could manage was 15th. Grade: B- 16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford , Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse equaled his best start of the season in rolling off the grid fifth but had slipped to 13th by Lap 180. He, too, was involved in the late-race wreck, which pushed him outside the top 15. Grade: C+ 17. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Another car involved in the late-race wreck, Newman had been just fair to middling throughout the race. In the end, he finished just two places higher than he started. Grade: C 18. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford , Team Penske . He started eighth, but Keselowski had an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel on Lap 128, and said some of the things the No. 2 team tried in preparation for the Chase race in the fall didn't work. Grade: C- 19. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Driving on worn tires, Dillon was clipped by Jimmie Johnson and spun into traffic to cause the 13-car wreck on Lap 293. After starting 10th, he had reached as high as second but was lucky to finish 19th. Grade: C- 20. Ty Dillon , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport- Leavine Family Racing . Dillon worked his way up from starting 30th, to log his greatest place differential in four Cup races this season. Grade: C- 21. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . One race after her best finish of the season (16th in Martinsville), Patrick couldn't improve much from her 26th-place start. Grade: C- 22. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger couldn't find any of the moxie that helped him finish second in Martinsville, starting the day 23rd, hovering around 23rd to 26th for most of the race before pushing to 22nd at the finish. Grade: C- 23. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears equaled his worst starting position of the season (32nd) and worked his way up to 21st by Lap 240 but couldn't get over the hump to improve further. Grade: C 24. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford , Richard Petty Motorsports . A roller coaster season continued for Almirola as he dropped to as low as 35th and as high as 10th before finishing exactly where he began. Grade: C 25. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford , Front Row Motorsports . Cassill said he couldn't figure out the right adjustments to make on his No. 38 Ford until the end of the race -- when it mattered most. He jumped from 33rd on Lap 260 to finish 25th. Grade: C 26. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . One of the 13 cars involved in the Lap 293 wreck, Menard logged his second-worst finish of the season -- after his second-worst start of the season. Grade: D+ 27. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford , Richard Petty Motorsports . Another car involved in the big late-race wreck, ended up finishing exactly where he began the race. Grade: C- 28. Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford , Front Row Motorsports . Buescher had his second-best finish of the season, and improved six places on his start. Grade: C- 29. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford , Wood Brothers Racing . The rookie started seventh, but had to pit twice under green for reports of vibration. The No. 21 Ford never could figure out a solution, and slipped all the way to 29th. Grade: C- 30. Cole Whitt , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Starting 37th, Whitt improved little by little throughout the race until he finished 30th. Grade: C- 31. Regan Smith , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Another car involved in the Lap 293 wreck, Smith had been running around 24th until the incident. Grade: C- 32. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Yet another car involved in the 13-car wreck near the end, Annett still managed to finish three places higher than he began. Grade: C 33. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Ragan was dinged in the late-race wreck, and his finish was his worst of the season. Grade: D+ 34. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . The No. 83 Toyota had shown improvement from Daytona, but took a step back after starting 29th in Texas. Grade: D+ 35. Jeffrey Earnhardt , No. 32 Ford , Go Fas Racing . In his fourth Cup race of the season, Earnhardt simply couldn't make up much ground after starting 38th. Grade: D 36. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Starting 40th for the second straight week, Sorenson managed to improve on his finish by one spot over last week. Grade: D. 37. Brian Vickers , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . A long day for Vickers began on a pit stop on Lap 110 when his brakes locked up as he attempted to avoid hitting Clint Bowyer . His car never felt right, and his day ended when he was involved in the Lap 293 wreck. Grade: D. 38. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Bowyer's subpar year continued, and his involvement in the 13-car wreck ended his day. His 38th was his worst finish of the season. Grade: D- 39. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford , Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle started 14th, but the contact with Kasey Kahne sent him careening into the wall for his worst finish of the season. Grade: D- 4 0. Josh Wise , No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. Wise slammed into the Turn 3 wall on Lap 212 and finished 40th for the first time this season. Grade: D-
Kyle Busch tames Texas, lands 80th XFINITY win
RELATED: Race results FORT WORTH, Texas -- Kyle Busch broke his NASCAR XFINITY Series "losing streak" on Friday night and in the process moved into rarefied air in the Lone Star State. With a dominating victory from the pole in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway , Busch won for the fourth time in five XFINITY starts this year. His only loss in that stretch was a second-place run after a late blown tire robbed him of victory in his last outing at Auto Club Speedway . But on Friday night, Busch was back to his winning ways, leading a race-high 150 of 200 laps at the 1.5-mile track, notching his record eighth victory at Texas and extending his own series record to 80 triumphs. With victories in the Camping World Truck Series and Sprint Cup Series last week at Martinsville, Busch now has three straight NASCAR wins, and on Saturday night he'll go for a fourth in the Duck Commander 500 Cup race at Texas (7:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM). But he already has eight winner's cowboy hats from the XFINITY Series alone (and 12 overall). "I guess you have a spare one for every day of the week," Busch said with a grin. "It certainly is a good problem to have. We've had some really good runs here over the years, and we've been really fast. This NOS Energy Drink Camry was great. "We got our money's worth out of it and (crew chief Chris) Gayle got his money's worth out of it, too, on the pit box today. We had to make some adjustments to it and fine-tune on it to make it better and better." Erik Jones , Busch's teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing , ran second, and Brad Keselowski came home third. JR Motorsports drivers -- Chase Elliott , Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Justin Allgaier and Elliott Sadler -- occupied the next four spots. Series leader Daniel Suarez finished 16th, one lap down, after spinning in Turn 4 on Lap 77 and saw his margin in the standings over second-place Sadler shrink to one point. Jones was relegated to the rear of the field after his pit crew jumped over the wall too soon on a stop under caution on Lap 77. But Jones recovered adroitly, powering his No. 20 Toyota through the field to claim the runner-up spot. "Getting the penalty didn't help but it wasn't the reason we ran second either," Jones said. "We just didn't take a big enough swing to free it up (on the final pit stop on Lap 148). The track just tightened up as it rubbered up. Then it got slick again and we didn't keep up with it enough." Busch had retaken the lead from Kyle Larson on Lap 120 and opened a lead of more than three seconds before Jeb Burton 's Ford blew a tire on Lap 144, slammed the Turn 2 wall and collected Blake Koch 's Chevrolet in the process. "I was really, really tight, and I was chattering tires all night," Burton said after he was released from the infield care center. "I went into (Turn) 1, and I thought I had a problem, but it was too late." With a strong push from Jones, Busch held the top spot after a restart on Lap 152, and by the time the lap count reached 181 of 200, his advantage had ballooned to 2.9 seconds. The rest was academic, as Busch maintained a comfortable working margin and arrived at the finish line 3.055 seconds ahead of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate. Sprint Cup regular Larson, who led 38 laps through the middle stages of the 300 -miler, faded to an 11th-place finish in the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet. The series' next race is the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 , scheduled next Saturday (12:30 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM) at Bristol Motor Speedway . It will mark the series' first use of heats and a main event as part of the Dash 4 Cash bonus program. Contributing: Staff reports RELATED: Dash 4 Cash to return for '16 at Bristol race