Former Phoenix Racing owner plans to enter car for Daytona 500

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In an interview with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, former Sprint Cup team owner James Finch (pictured, left, from 2009) announced his intentions to field a car for the 2014 Daytona 500.

Finch sold Phoenix Racing in August to Harry Scott, Jr., a co-owner of NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series outfit Turner Scott Motorsports. But in talking with hosts Brad Gillie and Buddy Baker, Finch revealed that he’s entered a partnership with his old team in order to compete in The Great American Race.

“I don’t know if there’s any seller’s remorse, but I got to thinking, ‘You know, Daytona 500’s coming up, I’ve got to go down there one more time,'” Finch said. “So, I made a deal with Harry and I’m gonna get a car out and I’m gonna go to the Daytona 500.”

Finch wouldn’t say who would be driving his car at Daytona but mentioned that the driver would be “guaranteed” to be in the race – which could mean that a past Sprint Cup champion will be in the car.

Whoever lands that ride could have a decent shot come February. Finch has had his share of success on restrictor plate tracks in recent years, including a 2009 victory at Talladega with driver and future Cup champion Brad Keselowski.

In the 2013 Daytona 500, Regan Smith took Phoenix’s No. 51 car (still owned by Finch at the time) to a seventh-place finish. It marked the fourth Top-10 finish at the Daytona 500 for a Finch-owned car.

Finch also has two Nationwide Series wins at Daytona from 1999 (Randy Lajoie, 300 miles) and 2012 (Kurt Busch, 250 miles).

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Dixon’s lap of 122.750 mph was not quite enough.

“I’m sure you could pick out a number of different things on a lap when it’s that close,” Power said about what made the slight difference between him and Newgarden. “A little mistake out of 9; a little lift here or there.”

Sebastien Bourdais (122.605 mph) qualified third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.159) and James Hinchliffe (121.859) rounding out the top five.

Scott Dixon was the last driver in the top six.

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 mph after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph.

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.