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No. 2 Nationwide Series driver hopes consistency keeps him in championship picture
Chase drivers take 13 of the top 17 spots in opening Cup practice RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize Sprint Cup Series opening practice " Results Kevin Harvick topped the opening 80-minute Sprint Cup Series practice at Dover International Speedway with a speed of 163.852 mph. Right behind Harvick was Brad Keselowski with a speed of 163.726 mph. Harvick has a solid hold on advancing to the Contender Round, while Keselowski's win at Chicagoland Speedway automatically moved the current points leader to the next round. Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers took 13 of the top 17 spots in practice. Jeff Gordon placed third in the session (163.562 mph) as he looks to improve this weekend on his seventh-place position in the standings. Jimmie Johnson, a nine-time winner at Dover International Speedway , was fifth in the session (163.369 mph) and is currently fourth in the standings. Denny Hamlin (163.354 mph) and Kurt Busch (163.162 mph), two drivers currently on the outside looking in of moving on to the Contender Round, placed sixth and seventh in the session, respectively. Hamlin enters the Dover race six points out of the final spot, while Busch is eight points out. A win by either driver would advance them to the next round of the Chase. Joey Logano (162.815 mph) was ninth in the session. He is automatically in the Contender Round due to his win last week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . Matt Kenseth (162.690 mph) placed 10th in the session. He is eighth in the standings but his hold on a spot to advance is tenuous as just 12 points separate the drivers that eighth and 16th in the standings Marcos Ambrose (fourth at 163.436 mph) was one of two non-Chase drivers to place in the top 10 of the session. Clint Bowyer (eighth at 163.014 mph), who has Jeff Burton on standby should his wife give birth to their first child this weekend, was the other. Kyle Busch was 11th in the session (162.616 mph) and he is in good shape to advance to the Contender Round as he is in fifth place in the standings. Carl Edwards (13th at 162.536 mph), Aric Almirola (14th at 162.470 mph), Ryan Newman (16th at 162.360 mph), Greg Biffle (17th at 162.162 mph) and Kasey Kahne (22nd at 161.761 mph) are in the log jam between eighth and 16 in the standings. They need strong showings at Dover to advance. Dale Earnhardt Jr. , who is in sixth place in the standings, placed 24th in practice (161.565). Chase underdog AJ Allmendinger finished the lowest among the Chase drivers, in 25th, with a speed of 161.493 mph. He is currently in 10th place in the standings. There was one caution in the practice for some fluid on track from the No. 40 car of Landon Cassill after an apparent blown engine. There will be two 50-minute Sprint Cup Series practice sessions on Saturday. The first is at 11 a.m. ET and will be televised on FOX Sports 1. The second is at 2 p.m. ET and will be televised on FOX Sports 2. Nationwide Series final practice " Results Chris Buescher topped the final practice for the Nationwide Series at Dover International Speedway . After placing 11th in the opening session, Buescher topped the charts with a speed of 154.825 mph in the final 80-minute session. Richard Childress Racing flexed its Nationwide program muscle once again with all four of its cars placing in the top eight of practice. Brendan Gaughan was second (153.991 mph) and Cale Conley was fourth (152.568 mph). Ty Dillon came in sixth (152.104 mph) while Brian Scott , who topped the first session, placed eighth (151.726 mph) Aric Almirola , who is making his second Nationwide Series start of the season, placed third in the session (152.996 mph), while Trevor Bayne (152.517 mph) rounded out the top five. Points leader Chase Elliott was 10th in the session with a speed of 151.330 mph. Kyle Busch , who won at Dover in the spring, placed 11th in the session. James Buescher , the driver of the No. 99 Toyota, will be forced to drive a backup car after the hood popped open and damaged his car during his initial run of final practice. Coors Light Pole Qualifying will take place on Saturday at 12:15 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2 with the Dover 200 taking place at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Nationwide Series opening practice " Results Brian Scott , fresh off his runner-up finish last weekend at Kentucky Speedway , topped the opening Nationwide Series practice at Dover International Speedway with a speed of 153.191 mph. Richard Childress Racing took the top three spots at Kentucky and four of the top six spots in the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 and the team showed its power in the opening practice with all four of the team's drivers placing in the top 10. In addition to Scott , Cale Conley was second on the charts (152.478 mph), while last week's winner at Kentucky, Brendan Gaughan was sixth in the session (151.815 mph) and Ty Dillon finished ninth (151.560 mph). Points leader Chase Elliott was third for the 50-minute session with a speed of 152.458 mph. Sprint Cup Series regulars Kyle Larson (152.400 mph) and Kyle Busch (152.162 mph) rounded out the top five, respectively. Busch won the spring race at the Monster Mile. He has four wins in the Nationwide Series at Dover. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
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Matthew Dillner finds good eats and drivers who are ready to tackle the high speeds of Michigan International Speedway in this week's edition of GarageCam.
Dillon settles for third after leading 155 laps RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings SPARTA, Ky. -- From its pole-winning qualifying lap to triple-digit laps led, Ty Dillon 's No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet was the car to beat in Saturday's VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway . After leading 155 of the race's 200 laps, the Richard Childress Racing No. 3 looked to have competition only in fellow rookie-of-the-year contender Chase Elliott . Yet as Elliott's No. 9 and Dillon's No. 3 fought side-by-side for the lead, it was Dillon's RCR teammate Brendan Gaughan who surprised them both by charging ahead. Brian Scott followed, moving ahead of Dillon and putting the driver with what seemed an ironclad grip on Victory Lane back to third. "This one definitely hurts," Dillon said. "I hate it for our Bass Pro Chevy guys. We had the night's dominant car and it was obvious that we really put it together as RCR and (Earnhardt Childress Racing engines) as a whole this weekend." The loss wasn't much easier for Scott , who earned his best finish of the season with the runner-up effort. "I think it was a toss-up between Ty and I, and he was a little better -- he was able to adjust his car in clean air where we were fighting with dirty air most of the race," Scott said. "At the end, I was proud of our guys to take four tires. I was surprised more cars didn't take four tires -- we had 50 laps on them and I was fighting a little bit loose … at the end it was too tight, probably needed one more round up on the track bar and we could've won this thing." RCR ended the night with all three of its full-time drivers in the top three. The finish shows the change the organization has seen since earlier this season, which saw Gaughan outside of the top 10 in all but two of the first 13 races, before his win at Road America . Second-place finisher Scott sat outside of the top 10 in seven of the first nine races this season. While Dillon frequented the top 10 earlier in the year, he didn't notch his first top-five finish until the 18th race of the season at Chicagoland Speedway . "We've all worked hard, we all realized we were pretty off in the beginning of the year and nobody was happy with it, nobody got complacent with it," Dillon said. "We fought hard. ECR stepped it up, and so did the guys at the race shop that don't get the credit; the guys behind the scenes, they stepped it up too." Even 22-year-old Cale Conley , who drove RCR's No. 33 Chevrolet in his ninth Nationwide Series start, finished in the top 10. With the clear addition of speed across the Richard Childress Racing fleet, the final laps at Kentucky came down to strategy, with the No. 3 on two fresh tires and the No. 2 and No. 62 on four fresh ones each. The race's eight cautions -- several of which landed in the race's closing 50 laps -- nudged both Dillon and Scott out of the running, and Gaughan into Victory Lane. "I think the series of cautions played against us … " Scott said. "I think we gave it some good restarts and got trapped on others. I wish I could do it over again, but I'm sure Ty feels the same way, and everybody but Brendan feels that way right now." Even without a trophy, Dillon's performance stands out among his record. His dominance surpassed his previous best of leading 130 laps in a NASCAR national series race in the Camping World Truck Series. His Indianapolis win earlier this year gave the driver his previous Nationwide Series best, with 24 laps out front. Even though it wasn't a win, Dillon's finish moved two points closer to Elliott in the points standings, and the driver continues to look forward to the contending for a title. "We don't ever give up, we don't ever let up," Dillon said. "I think that's kind of the RCR motto -- it starts with my grandfather and spreads through the whole company." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
This marks Dillon's second pole win of 2014 RELATED: Full race lineup Ty Dillon won his second Coors Light Pole Award of the season Saturday at Kentucky Speedway , posting a fastest final-round lap of 175.690 mph. It capped a strong couple of days from Richard Childress Racing, which consistently had its cars at the top of the leaderboard during Friday's practices. Dillon will lead the field to green in the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 , which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET later tonight and will be televised on ESPNEWS. Part-timer Sam Hornish Jr . qualified second with a speed of 175.245 mph in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, with Brendan Gaughan , Cale Conley and Brian Scott rounding out the top five. Gaughan, Conley and Scott also drive RCR vehicles. Group qualifying at the 1.5-mile track consisted of a 25-minute opening round in which the 24 fastest cars advanced to the 10-minute second round. The top 12 fastest in the second round advanced to the final five-minute round. Driving the No. 20, Justin Boston earned his spot in the final round by finishing 12th in the second round. It was enough to top Dylan Kwasniewski (13th), Chase Pistone (16th) and Austin Theriault (17th). In the first round Ryan Reed finished 24th, just ahead of J.J. Yeley and Jamie Dick , to advance into the second round. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule