Ryan Sieg

Keselowski earns pole for final Nationwide Series race at Homestead

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Brad Keselowski originally was not scheduled to compete in Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 season-ending NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

Joey Logano was originally slated to run the Team Penske No. 22 Ford, but with his focus on winning Sunday’s Sprint Cup championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Keselowski was a late replacement.

Even though he was thrown into it, Keselowski obviously didn’t mind. One week after winning the NNS race at Phoenix, Keselowski came back to earn the pole position for Saturday’s NNS race at Homestead.

Keselowski paced the field with a speed of 166.384 mph. It was his fifth NNS pole of the season and 19th of his career. Keselowski has five wins from the pole in that career, as well, including once at HMS.

“I honestly didn’t expect to get the pole,” Keselowski told Fox Sports 1. “My teammate, Ryan Blaney, was really fast the first two sessions.

“But we were able to just find a little extra speed, I got her dialed in and it’s going to be starting on the pole.”

Twice before, Penske Racing has earned the NNS pole at HMS and gone on to victory. Keselowski is gunning to make it three.

“I’d love to add a three to that, so hopefully we can get three wins,” Keselowski said.

Whether Keselowski or another driver wins the race, it will be historic: Saturday’s event will be the final race ever run under the Nationwide Series banner. The series will be rebranded to the Xfinity Series beginning in 2015.

Kyle Larson qualified second (166.353 mph), followed by Matt Kenseth (166.006), Elliott Sadler (165.827), Ryan Blaney (165.756), Kyle Busch (165.685), Brian Scott (165.269), Brendan Gaughan (165.158), Dylan Kwasniewski (164.870), Chris Buescher (164.224), Ryan Reed (163.969) and Josh Berry (162.660).

“We just missed it barely there at the end,” Larson said. “Hopefully, we can have a little better finish than we had last night. We came up just one spot short.”

Larson finished second to Darrell “Bubba” Wallace in Friday night’s Truck Series season finale.

There were a few surprises along the way, as well:

* Chase Elliott, who clinched the Nationwide Series championship last week at Phoenix, had issues with control on his Chevrolet, ultimately being unable to qualify any higher than 14th.

* Regan Smith, who had been Elliott’s chief chaser during the championship battle, also had issues, qualifying 15th. And Ty Dillon also had control issues, qualifying 21st.

Row 1: Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson
Row 2: Matt Kenseth, Elliott Sadler
Row 3: Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch
Row 4: Brian Scott, Brendan Gaughan
Row 5: Dylan Kwasniewski, Chris Buescher
Row 6: Ryan Reed, Josh Berry
Row 7: Trevor Bayne, Chase Elliott
Row 8: Regan Smith, Corey Lajoie
Row 9: JJ Yeley, Mike Bliss
Row 10: Dakoda Armstrong, Jeremy Clements
Row 11: Ty Dillon, Blake Koch
Row 12: Landon Cassill, James Buescher
Row 13: Ross Chastain, John Wes Townley
Row 14: Eric McClure, Jeffrey Earnhardt
Row 15: David Starr, TJ Bell
Row 16: Paul Menard, Ryan Sieg
Row 17: Ryan Preece, Jeff Green
Row 18: Jake Crum, Tanner Berryhill
Row 19: Matt DiBenedetto, Kevin Lepage
Row 20: Milka Duno, Carlos Contreras

Did not qualify: Derrike Cope, Joey Gase, Ryan Ellis, Johnny Jackson, Martin Roy.

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Kyle Busch earns 7th pole of NNS season, 43rd of career

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Befitting of a guy who grew up in nearby Las Vegas, Kyle Busch rolled sevens in Saturday morning’s qualifying for the DAV 200 – Honoring America’s Veterans NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.

Busch earned his seventh career pole at PIR and his seventh NNS pole of the season with a field-best speed of 133.963 mph. It was also Busch’s 43rd pole of his NNS career.

“(Crew chief) Adam Stevens and these guys did a great job again and brought me a great piece,” said Busch, who has won the last three NNS races at PIR.

“There’s not much of a secret, per se,” Busch said. “Good cars are just good cars. We have something here that’s figured out.

“It’s not out of the box ordinary. It’s just good to have a dominant car like that, or to have a good car like that when you go to places, and it just seems Phoenix is one of those.”

Busch is also going for his eighth win of the season, having won the NNS race last week at Texas Motor Speedway.

Brad Keselowski qualified second (133.924 mph), followed by Friday night’s Truck series winner Erik Jones (133.670), Elliott Sadler (133.284), Alex Bowman (133.200), Regan Smith (133.077), Ty Dillon (132.993), Brendan Gaughan (132.964), Brian Scott (132.690) and NNS series leader Chase Elliott was 10th-fastest at 132.592 mph.

Former Drive For Diversity participant Mackena Bell made the field for her first career NNS race. She’ll start 39th.

Only one driver failed to qualify, that being Ryan Ellis.

Here’s the starting grid for this afternoon’s race:

Row 1: Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski

Row 2: Erik Jones, Elliott Sadler

Row 3: Alex Bowman, Regan Smith

Row 4: Ty Dillon, Brendan Gaughan

Row 5: Brian Scott, Chase Elliott

Row 6: Kyle Larson, Trevor Bayne

Row 7: Chris Buescher, Dylan Kwasniewski

Row 8: Ryan Reed, James Buescher

Row 9: John Wes Townley, Landon Cassill

Row 10: Brennan Newberry, Mike Bliss

Row 11: Ryan Sieg, Jeffrey Earnhardt

Row 12: Kelly Admiraal, Jeremy Clements

Row 13: Dakoda Armstrong, Blake Koch

Row 14: Jamie Dick, Matt DiBenedetto

Row 15: Jeff Green, Tanner Berryhill

Row 16: TJ Bell, Joey Gase

Row 17: JJ Yeley, Mike Wallace

Row 18: Eric McClure, Chad Boat

Row 19: Morgan Shepherd, Carl Long

Row 20: Mackena Bell, Derrike Cope

DNQ: Ryan Ellis

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Joey Logano wins pole for today’s Nationwide race at Texas

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Joey Logano’s final round lap of 186.981 miles per hour was enough to give him his third Nationwide Series pole of 2014 for today’s O’Reilly Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway.

Logano will look to extend the 31-point lead for Team Penske’s No. 22 outfit in the series owner standings. But he’ll also be gunning for his first Nationwide triumph of the season as well.

“Obviously, the owner’s [title] is what’s on the line and we want to be able to be consistent,” he said to Fox Sports. “But I want to win this race really bad.”

Logano will be joined on the front row by Roush Fenway Racing’s Trevor Bayne, whose lap of 186.419 mph was good enough for second on the grid.

Row 2 will feature reigning series champion and current Sprint Cup rookie Austin Dillon (186.136) in his first series start of the year, plus one of his Richard Childress Racing teammates, Brian Scott.

Penske young gun Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch make up Row 3, followed by Kevin Harvick and Ty Dillon in Row 4, and Regan Smith and Ryan Reed in Row 5.

Current Nationwide points leader and Texas spring race winner Chase Elliott will roll off from the inside of Row 6 in 11th spot. Elliott leads JR Motorsports teammate Smith in the standings by 42 points.

Clint Bowyer was called upon to replace Elliott Sadler for this qualifying session in his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing machine. Sadler was reported to be receiving fluids in the infield care center and his status for today’s race is unknown; Bowyer qualified the No. 11 in 17th position.

Another Cup rookie, Kyle Larson, and veteran Carlos Contreras did not turn laps in qualifying and will have to start from the back of the field. Larson couldn’t get through inspection due to issues with his car’s right-rear camber and left-rear toe according to Fox Sports, while Contreras didn’t get through after having an engine change.

NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES at Texas – O’Reilly Challenge
Starting Grid

1. 22-Joey Logano
2. 6-Trevor Bayne
3. 33-Austin Dillon
4. 2-Brian Scott
5. 12-Ryan Blaney
6. 54-Kyle Busch
7. 5-Kevin Harvick
8. 3-Ty Dillon
9. 7-Regan Smith
10. 16-Ryan Reed
11. 9-Chase Elliott
12. 62-Brendan Gaughan
13. 20-Matt Kenseth
14. 31-Dylan Kwasniewski
15. 60-Chris Buescher
16. 25-John Wes Townley
17. 11-Clint Bowyer
18. 39-Ryan Sieg
19. 84-Chad Boat
20. 98-Corey Lajoie
21. 19-Mike Bliss
22. 43-Dakoda Armstrong
23. 28-J.J. Yeley
24. 51-Jeremy Clements
25. 14-Eric McClure
26. 44-David Starr
27. 01-Landon Cassill
28. 99-James Buescher
29. 93-Kevin Swindell
30. 4-Jeffrey Earnhardt
31. 10-Blake Koch
32. 17-Tanner Berryhill
33. 90-Martin Roy
34. 55-Jamie Dick
35. 40-Matt DiBenedetto
36. 52-Joey Gase
37. 23-Robert Richardson
38. 42-Kyle Larson
39. 87-Carlos Contreras
40. 46-Ryan Ellis

DNQ: 70-Derrike Cope, 74-Mike Harmon, 89-Morgan Shepherd

Timothy ‘Iceman’ Peters stays cool, earns hot GWC win at ‘Dega

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Timothy Peters was like an Iceman in Saturday’s Fred’s 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Rather than get all hot and worried about all the trucks behind him, Peters coolly went out and drove his race, holding on to earn the green-white-checker victory.

“It was exciting,” Peters told Fox Sports. “It feels good to come back to a superspeedway and get back into victory lane.

“We were good all day today. … This is such a great effort.”

It was Peters’ first win of the season and extends a streak where he has at least one win now in each of the last six seasons.

“Man, we really needed this,” crew chief Marcus Richmond told Fox Sports. “This Red Horse Tundra has been really good. It was good at Daytona.

“We had our ups and downs this year. We felt like we had fast trucks. This whole team has been awesome and stuck together. (The team owners) didn’t give up on us. This is awesome.”

Tayler Malsam finished second, followed by Spencer Gallagher, rookie pole-sitter Tyler Reddick and Ryan Blaney.

Blaney looked like he might steal the win away from Peters but lost the draft and faded in the last half-lap.

Erik Jones finished sixth, followed by Chris Fontaine, John Wes Townley, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Joe Nemechek.

Points leader Matt Crafton finished 14th but lost just two points in the championship standings. He was leading Johnny Sauter by 19 points coming into the race; he now leads Blaney by 17 points unofficially.

Several drivers’ championship hopes took a big hit.

Sauter suffered engine failure, the first time a ThorSport Racing truck has experienced such a malady in more than two years.

The incident was caused when a bolt went through the radiator of Sauter’s truck.

Sauter dropped from second to fourth place and goes from 19 points to 36 points in arrears to Crafton.

“Just another kick in the [butt], I guess,” Sauter told Fox Sports. “It didn’t feel like it blew up. It’s weird. The water temperature didn’t show anything and it just kind of stayed.

“They said it probably just pushed it out so fast it didn’t have an opportunity to reflect anything.

“Whatever. The championship’s over. From here on out, we can just race like hell.”

German Quiroga Jr. also took a big hit – in more than one way. Quiroga triggered a four-truck wreck on Lap 12, ending his day and dropping from sixth to seventh in the points.

Quiroga came into the race 85 points behind Crafton; he’s now 100 points back.

Others involved in the wreck were Mason Mingus, Ron Hornaday Jr., and Ryan Sieg.

On the ensuing caution, as Crafton was leaving his pit stall, he ran into the side of Bryan Silas. Crafton’s truck sustained damage to the right front of his truck, prompting him to pit again for his team to pull out the damaged sheet metal.

Then with about 40 laps to go, Crafton was penalized by NASCAR, along with Joe Nemechek, for tandem drafting.

Crafton claimed he had nothing to do with it, since Nemechek was the one pushing him, but NASCAR officials didn’t see it that way and penalized both drivers with pass-through penalties.

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Quiroga takes big hit in Truck race and points at ‘Dega

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It’s not surprising that there was a big wreck in Saturday’s Fred’s 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

That it occurred as early (or late, depending upon your perspective) as Lap 12 of the 94-lap event is surprising, though.

As the trucks bounced around in the draft on the backstretch of the 2.66-mile track at near 190 mph, it appeared German Quiroga tried to get into a hole that closed up before he could get into it. As a result, Quiroga clipped another truck, got turned around and the pinball wrecking began.

When all the spinning, beating, banging and wrecking was over, several trucks had sustained moderate to severe damage.

The front end of Quiroga’s truck was all but torn off as he was hit by several competitors’ trucks. The wreck put a big dent in Quiroga’s hopes to advance upward in the standings in today’s race. He was seventh in the rankings coming into the race.

Others involved in the wreck included Mason Mingus, Ron Hornaday Jr., and Ryan Sieg.

“It’s frustrating,” Mingus told Fox Sports. “We were just biding our time, playing it safe … It’s one of those things. That’s what we get for pack racing. It happens every time. You just hope you’re not the victim of it.

“Unfortunately, it was early in the race. I felt we could have had a good run if we would have made it through the big one. I don’t know if that’s going to be it or if there’s going to be another one (big wreck). It’s unfortunate that people when people get that impatient so early in the race. It just tears up a lot of trucks and ends a lot of people’s day.

On the ensuing caution, as points leader Matt Crafton was leaving his pit stall, he ran into the side of Bryan Silas. Crafton’s truck sustained damage to the right front of his truck, prompting him to pit again for his team to pull out the damaged sheet metal.

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