Veteran Pat Tryson out as crew chief for Nationwide Series rookie Dylan Kwasniewski

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Veteran NASCAR crew chief Pat Tryson has been released after just 17 races as crew chief for Nationwide Series rookie driver Dylan Kwasniewski.

Turner Scott Motorsports announced Thursday that Shannon Rursch will replace Tryson atop the pit box for the No. 31 Chevrolet, effective with Saturday night’s NNS EnjoyIllinois.com 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Rursch was previously car chief for the No. 31 NNS team.

“I respect (Turner Scott’s) decision,” Kwasniewski told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Thursday afternoon. “It’s a shame to see Pat go obviously. We had a great relationship, and he’s a great crew chief.

“Now that we’ve got Shannon, I think he’s going to do a fantastic job. He’s got all the tools to do so. He knows what he needs to do, and I think he’s got the experience to do so.”

Kwasniewski, who is currently 12th in the NNS standings and is vying for series Rookie of the Year honors, has struggled greatly in his rookie season. The 19-year-old Las Vegas native has just one top-10 finish (no wins and no top-fives) in the first 17 races.

Since finishing eighth in the season-opening race at Daytona (started from the pole), Kwasniewski has finished 20th or worse eight times. In his last six starts, he’s recorded showings of 26th, 31st, 26th, 11th, 24th and 13th.

He also has three DNFs.

Kwasniewski has also made two starts for Kyle Larson in the NNS series when Larson was unable to compete for TSM in the No. 42 car. In those starts, Scott Zipadelli has served as crew chief and will remain in that position for any other races Kwasniewski has to replace Larson in this season.

Kwasniewski joined TSM for the 2014 Nationwide Series after winning the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championships.

In addition to 15 races as crew chief for Kwasniewski this season, Tryson was also crew chief for one race each in 2014 for Justin Marks and Chase Pistone.

In the Sprint Cup Series, Tryson was a crew chief from 1997 through 2013, serving with drivers including Mark Martin, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., David Gilliland, David Reutimann, Geoffrey Bodine, Kevin Lepage, Elliot Sadler and Ricky Rudd.

In 504 Sprint Cup races, Tryson earned eight wins, 62 top-five and 108 top-10 finishes as a crew chief.

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Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.