Justin Lofton earns pole for Friday night’s Truck race at Texas

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Justin Lofton will start Friday night’s WinStar World Casino 400 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race from the pole at Texas Motor Speedway.

Lofton (179.677 mph) edged second-fastest Mat Crafton (179.384) to take the pole.

Third-fastest was Ryan Blaney (178.636), followed by Johnny Sauter (178.601), Erik Jones (178.577), Joe Nemechek (177.637).

Seventh through 12th were Darrell Wallace Jr. (177.503), German Quiroga (177.491), John Wes Townley (177.299), Ron Hornaday Jr. (176.916), Jeb Burton (176.846) and Tyler Reddick (176.713).

 

Here’s the starting grid for Friday night’s WinStar World Casino 400:

Row 1 Justin Lofton, Matt Crafton

Row 2 Ryan Blaney, Johnny Sauter

Row 3 Erik Jones, Joe Nemechek

Row 4 Darrell Wallace Jr., German Quiroga

Row 5 John Wes Townley, Ron Hornaday Jr.

Row 6 Jeb Burton, Tyler Reddick

Row 7 Brennan Newberry, Tayler Maisam

Row 8 Timothy Peters, Bryan Silas

Row 9 Tyler Young, Ben Kennedy

Row 10 Joey Coulter, Mason Mingus

Row 11 TJ Bell, Jennifer Jo Cobb

Row 12 Jimmy Weller, BJ McLeod

Row 13 Justin Jennings, Norm Benning

Row 14 Ryan Ellis

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Brown: Dennis would have made same decision on McLaren-Honda split

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Zak Brown believes former McLaren team boss Ron Dennis would have made the same decision to cut ties with struggling Formula 1 engine partner Honda had he still been in charge at the team in 2017.

McLaren executive director Brown helped engineer a deal for the team to split with Honda at the end of the 2017 season after three tough seasons that had seen the Japanese manufacturer offer little in the way of performance or reliability.

The decision split opinion, with McLaren spurning a significant annual financial injection from Honda in order to link up with Renault, believing its on-track fortunes had to be prioritized over its commercial interests.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Brown was asked if he believed Dennis – McLaren’s long-running team chief before stepping down at the end of 2016 – would have made the same decision to cut ties with Honda.

“I think he would have,” Brown said.

“He was here when those conversations were ongoing and I think Ron always has and always will have the best interests of McLaren in his heart.

“He is Mr. McLaren. It burns him inside as much as us not to see us winning races.”

Brown also elaborated on the decision to break off the much-lauded relationship with Honda, saying the first signs of trouble with the 2017 power unit were clear in pre-season.

After a number of attempts to try and rectify the situation, Brown and his fellow team bosses felt there was no alternative but to end the Honda deal for 2018.

“We knew we were in trouble in testing in Barcelona and we worked really hard for six months to try and find solutions that would give us confidence that we’d be much more competitive in 2018,” Brown said.

“Ultimately, after trying many different things and many different ways we felt we couldn’t get there.

“Three years is a long time in Formula 1 and so we needed to change the direction to get our team back at the top.”