Keselowski, Logano make Penske front row for Phoenix

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The Team Penske tandem of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano will lead the Sprint Cup field to the green flag on Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway after taking the top two spots in the second and final round of knock-out qualifying.

Keselowski posted a lap of 25.828 seconds in the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford, narrowly nipping Logano’s best lap of 25.850 seconds. Logano was fastest in Round One, which saw the 12 fastest drivers go into the ten-minute final round (those 12 competitors had their Round One times reset).

“I’m really proud of Team Penske – they put a lot of effort into being the best we can here after a long 2013 and I think we did a heck of a job,” Keselowski told Motor Racing Network afterwards.

“Both cars 1-2? That’s a heck of an effort and something I’m very proud of for both Joey and the 22 team and obviously my team here on the 2 car…That’s a good start, now we’ve got to make the most of it come Sunday.”

Jamie McMurray and Jimmie Johnson will roll off from Row 2, followed by Daytona 500 champion and points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Greg Biffle in Row 3.

Rookie Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch are in Row 4, Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch are in Row 5, and Kasey Kahne and Denny Hamlin are in Row 6.

The session featured one incident in Round One involving Justin Allgaier, who crashed in Turn 3.

“I had a good lap going there and unfortunately, I got down into [Turn] 3 and it started to get away,” the Sprint Cup rookie told Fox. “I tried to save it as much as I could but unfortunately here at Phoenix, there’s not a whole lot of room to get out of trouble. It was my mistake – I was trying to get too much from that lap there.”

Josh Wise, Landon Cassill, and Dave Blaney failed to make the race.

Photo gallery: IndyCar iRacing at Barber Motorsports Park

Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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VIRTUAL LEEDS, Ala. — The second round of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge was held on a picturesque Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park, which looked as pristine in a simulation as in real life.

Scott McLaughlin won over Will Power by 0.4241 seconds, leading a 1-2 sweep by Team Penske in a wild 45-lap race. Sage Karam started on pole and led the first 24 laps in pursuit of his second consecutive victory, but he was out by Lap 29 after multiple on-track incidents.

Even though the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is keeping cars off the track in the real world, there still some beauty to be found in iRacing.

WINNER: Scott McLaughlin holds off teammate Will Power

WHAT DRIVERS SAID: Postrace reactions on social media

RESULTS: Where everyone finished at virtual Barber Motorsports Park

Courtesy of Getty Images’ Chris Graythen, here are a collection of screenshots from around the rolling hills and sweeping vistas of the 17-turn, 2.38-mile road course that features some interesting sculptures:

Alexander Rossi, who finished 22nd in his No. 27 Dallara-Honda, races alongside the No. 55 Chevrolet of Alex Palou (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

 

The No. 6 Chevy of Robert Wickens, who was eighth in his return to competition Saturday, makes a climb at Barber Motorsports Park, whose famous spider structures lurk in the background (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Graham Rahal, who finished 14th despite his lack of iRacing experience, races next to a thicket of trees at Barber Motorsports Park (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

A sweeping overhead shot of Barber Motorsports Park during Saturday’s IndyCar iRacing Challenge (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Kyle Kirkwood (top) and Colton Herta race their Andretti Autosport Hondas down the frontstretch at Barber Motorsports Park (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

James Hinchcliffe, whose Dallara-Honda thankfullly started this week, placed 17th at Barber (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

 

Defending series champion Josef Newgarden was sporting a nice shade of baby blue on his No. 1 Dallara-Chevrolet in finishing ninth (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Watkins Glen winner Sage Karam led the first 24 laps before falling behind in the pits and then falling out after contact from multiple incidents (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Five-time series champion Scott Dixon’s No. 9 Dallara-Honda made its IndyCar iRacing Challenge debut, finishing 16th (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Scott McLaughlin briefly goes off course while leading the field in a winning drive from his home in Brisbane, Australia (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Oliver Askew, who spent more than a dozen hours practicing on a simulation with his Arrow McLaren SP engineers, started ninth and finished 15th at Barber Motorsports Park (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

It was another tough iRacing outing for 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan, who said he struggled with pitting glitches in a 26th-place finish (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

 

Barber Motorsports Park is known for its collection of large steel structures featuring overgrown animals and insects, such as this spider keeping watch over Saturday’s race (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).