Jamie McMurray tops Sprint Cup speed charts in Happy Hour at Las Vegas

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Jamie McMurray was the fastest driver in Saturday’s final practice for Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

McMurray’s best lap was his first of the final session, covering the progressively-banked 1.5-mile surface at 186.942 mph.

A close second was Daytona 500 pole sitter Austin Dillon at 186.896 mph.

Third through fifth were Clint Bowyer (186.851), Kasey Kahne (186.793) and Kevin Harvick (186.458).

Sprint Cup points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. was ninth-fastest at 185.893 mph.

Sunday’s pole sitter, Joey Logano, was 15th-fastest at 185.918 mph.

Danica Patrick, who was sixth-fastest in the morning practice session, fell off the pace in the one-hour afternoon stanza at 32nd-fastest.

With less than four minutes to go, the motor in Parker Kligerman’s let go, spilling oil and fluid on the track, almost causing Greg Biffle to wreck. It was yet a continuation of the frustration that Kligerman has experienced in his first full Sprint Cup season. Kligerman is the only driver in the series who has recorded DNF’s in the first two races at Daytona and Phoenix.

Here’s the speeds of Saturday’s final Sprint Cup practice:

1 Jamie McMurray 186.942

2 Austin Dillon 186.896

3 Clint Bowyer 186.851

4 Kasey Kahne 186.793

5 Kevin Harvick 186.458

 

6 Kyle Larson 186.419

7 Jimmie Johnson 186.233

8 Brian Vickers 186.047

9 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 185.893

10 Casey Mears 185.810

 

11 Ryan Newman 185.567

12 Brad Keselowski 185.484

13 Aric Almirola 185.440

14 Trevor Bayne 185.312

15 Joey Logano 185.918

 

16 Denny Hamlin 185.147

17 Martin Truex Jr. 185.122

18 Kurt Busch 185.077

19 Matt Kenseth 184.919

20 Carl Edwards 184.735

 

21 Tony Stewart 184.559

22 Marcos Ambrose 184.521

23 Jeff Gordon 184.451

24 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

25 Kyle Busch 184.168

 

26 Paul Menard 184.162

27 Alex Bowman 183.580

28 AJ Allmendinger 182.814

29 Jeff Burton 182.580

30 David Gilliland 182.377

 

31 Greg Biffle 182.359

32 Danica Patrick 181.830

33 Reed Sorenson 181.257

34 Michael McDowell 181.208

35 David Ragan 181.099

 

36 Justin Allgaier 181.080

37 Josh Wise 180.717

38 Parker Kligerman 179.557

39 Ryan Truex 179.97

40 Michael Annett 179.390

 

41 Travis Kvapil 179.146

42 Timmy Hill 178.968

43 Cole Whitt 175.718

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Simon Pagenaud has words with Gabby Chaves after Honda Indy GP of Alabama

Photos: IndyCar
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The rain didn’t stop following the conclusion of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, and neither did the jousting between drivers.

An angry Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud confronted Harding Racing’s Gabby Chaves after the race, complaining that Chaves would not let Pagenaud get past him in the closing laps.

Instead of ending up with a hoped-for Top 5, Pagenaud wound up with a ninth-place finish. Chaves, meanwhile, finished 17th, two laps down.

The confrontation turned into a battle of words and profanity between the two drivers, as captured on Twitter by AutoWeek’s Matt Weaver.

Afterward – and after their tempers cooled down somewhat – both Pagenaud and Chaves gave their sides of the confrontation to NBCSN.

Gabby Chaves

First, here’s Pagenaud’s take on things:

“We had a really good race going,” Pagenaud said. “I think we potentially could have been top 5. I was really frustrated with Gabby. He was two laps down and I was stuck behind him, which gave an opportunity to (Scott) Dixon as I was trying to do everything I could to make it happen.

“It’s a real shame because when it’s not your day, it’s not your day. You’ll have better days later, but you want to have everybody on your side when you have a good day. At the moment, he doesn’t have me on his side, let me tell you. It’s a real shame.”

When asked what exactly he said to Chaves, Pagenaud demurred.

“Driver’s stuff,” he said with a slight smile. “We’ve all been there. I’ve been in his position. My side, I played it smart. It is what it is.

“I can’t comment for him. You can ask him the question. I’m not going to make a deal about it, it’s just a shame it ruined my race. We’ll come back stronger. It’s Indy soon, so that’ll put a smile on my face.”

NBCSN then caught up with Chaves for his side of the story.

 

“It’s a tough situation, we had to restart (the rain-delayed race) a lap down,” Chaves said. “Our whole strategy depends on trying to get a yellow and holding our position. Some guys think that the track belongs only to them, they’re the only guys on-track.

“Everyone else who was faster at that point – we were only one lap down to the leader, so we’re still on our strategy and don’t know what’s going to happen – as soon as they got right up next to me on the lead lap, I let them go.

“Simon was the only one who couldn’t drive up to me. I understand his frustration, but he’s the one who has to save fuel to make his strategy work, that’s not our fault, right?”

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