Vegas qualifying rained out; Keselowski on pole

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With rain washing away NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying today at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, reigning Cup champion Brad Keselowski will start on pole for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400.

The first 36 starting positions for Sunday’s race will be set by last year’s owner points, meaning that Keselowski and Michael Waltrip Racing’s Clint Bowyer will be occupying the front row. The final seven spots are being filled by either owner points or qualifying attempts from this year. NASCAR will begin to use 2013 points in the event of qualifying cancellations starting next weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.

A pre-qualifying Cup practice session was also scratched because of the weather, meaning that an entire day of track time was lost. While teams were able to test on Thursday at LVMS, today’s rainout will add a little more importance to the two Cup practices set for tomorrow as the garage continues to figure out the new Generation 6 machines.

“Certainly, we’d like to have all the track time we can get,” Keselowski told NASCAR.com. “It’s the same for everybody, the same circumstances, and it’s all about how you adapt to it.”

Row 2 will feature championship leader Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, while Row 3 features Greg Biffle (who led Thursday’s test session at LVMS) and Denny Hamlin. As for the two most popular drivers in the Cup series, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will go off 12th and Danica Patrick will start 37th on the grid.

You can check out the full starting lineup here.

Montoya: ‘Hopefully I get a chance to do Indy again’ (VIDEO)

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Juan Pablo Montoya is on site at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, his latest trip in a summer and fall filled with a lot of international travel and a number of different race cars he’s been in.

Montoya is committed to a full season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Acura Team Penske in 2018, as he’ll share one of the team’s Acura ARX-05s with Dane Cameron.

However, the question of whether he’ll be able to race in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil remains.

Team Penske has said it plans to only run four cars next month of May, with Helio Castroneves as the fourth driver alongside the three full-time cars driven by Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power.

While Montoya has said elsewhere that he’s shopping offers and has talked with other teams, it’d be highly surprising to see the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion who developed the Chevrolet engine for IndyCar’s 2018 Dallara universal body kit in a Honda-powered IndyCar, although he is running Honda’s brand (Acura) in sports cars.

Montoya elaborated on his Indy 500 prospects in an interview with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton at the Circuit of The Americas.

“Not full-time no,” Montoya told NBCSN of his IndyCar 2018 prospects. “Hopefully I get a chance to go to Indy, hopefully with Penske, (and) if not someone else. We’ll see.”

Photo: IndyCar

Montoya has extolled the early testing both on the 2018 IndyCar and on the Acura ARX-05.

The first Acura chassis has run at Road Atlanta and Sebring International Raceway thus far, and will be put through its paces at other venues over the next few months.

“It’s been good. We did a lot of work with INDYCAR on that car. Fans are gonna like it,” Montoya said of the 2018 kit.

“Going to IMSA with the Acura program, we’ve done a lot of testing. It’s a beauty to drive. It drives better than what it looks! I haven’t had that much fun driving a race car in a long time.”

Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype international (DPi) race car to be campaigned by Team Penske in 2018