Kyle Busch takes pole for Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

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Tomorrow night, Kyle Busch will seek to win his second Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway from the pole after posting a lap at 193.723 miles per hour during today’s qualifying sessions. For “Rowdy,” the occasion was a bit of history for him, as it was the first time he’d ever taken pole position on a restrictor-plate track.

“I never thought I’d ever get one,” Busch admitted to NASCAR.com. “But I guess never says never. It’s pretty cool, because it has absolutely nothing to do with the driver, but it has everything to do with the car and equipment you’re driving.”

Busch led a Toyota sweep of the top three positions on the grid in qualifying. He’ll be joined on the front row tomorrow night by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and Kentucky winner Matt Kenseth, whose lap at 193.299 miles per hour wasn’t quite enough to nab P1. Michael Waltrip Racing’s Clint Bowyer (193.158 mph) will start from the inside of Row 2 alongside Kasey Kahne, who led the Chevrolet camp this afternoon with a 193.154 mph lap.

Martin Truex Jr. and Paul Menard will go off from Row 3, followed by Michael Waltrip and championship leader Jimmie Johnson in Row 4, and Roush Fenway teammates Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Greg Biffle in Row 5.

Danica Patrick, who was a last-lap contender for victory at the season-opening Daytona 500, will start 11th – two spots of her boss and defending Coke Zero 400 champ Tony Stewart in 13th. Defending Cup champ Brad Keselowski and longtime Daytona threat Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified 15th and 16th, respectively.

COKE ZERO 400 – STARTING GRID
1. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 193.723 mph.
2. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 193.299.
3. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 193.158.
4. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 193.154.
5. (56) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 193.129.
6. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 193.075.
7. (55) Michael Waltrip, Toyota, 193.058.
8. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 193.009.
9. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 192.984.
10. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 192.947.
11. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 192.93.
12. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford, 192.901.
13. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 192.876.
14. (42) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 192.864.
15. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 192.802.
16. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 192.798.
17. (31) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 192.724.
18. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 192.715.
19. (13) Casey Mears, Ford, 192.715.
20. (21) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 192.583.
21. (39) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 192.522.
22. (78) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 192.489.
23. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 192.448.
24. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 192.439.
25. (9) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 192.197.
26. (29) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 192.152.
27. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 191.877.
28. (38) David Gilliland, Ford, 191.755.
29. (7) Dave Blaney, Chevrolet, 191.546.
30. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 191.306.
31. (98) Michael McDowell, Ford, 190.795.
32. (36) J.J. Yeley, Chevrolet, 190.735.
33. (51) A J Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 190.726.
34. (47) Bobby Labonte, Toyota, 190.375.
35. (30) David Stremme, Toyota, 190.202.
36. (95) Scott Speed, Ford, 189.853.
37. (35) Josh Wise, Ford, Owner Points.
38. (34) David Ragan, Ford, Owner Points.
39. (32) Terry Labonte, Ford, Owner Points.
40. (93) Travis Kvapil, Toyota, Owner Points.
41. (83) David Reutimann, Toyota, Owner Points.
42. (87) Joe Nemechek, Toyota, Owner Points.
43. (33) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, Owner Points.

FIA returns Manor’s F1 entry fee for 2017

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Good news: Manor Grand Prix Racing Limited got a refund of an entry fee it paid to the FIA to run in this year’s F1 season.

Bad news: Manor still hasn’t run this year, and won’t be for the foreseeable future (especially as Manor’s former leadership staff is moving that team into FIA WEC’s new-look LMP1 class in addition to its LMP2 program).

Manor Group’s receivership outfit, Just Racing Services Limited, went into administration earlier this year. As there was no new buyer for the F1 team, Manor dropped from the 2017 grid before the season.

The FIA said it would return its entry fee to help Manor Group pay off outstanding debts.

It basically means nothing in the grand scheme of things since Manor missed out on 10th place in the constructor’s standings in 2016 and fell from the F1 grid as a result, but hey, it’s a goodwill gesture going into Thanksgiving this week.