NASCAR: Ryan Blaney on pole for tonight’s Truck Series race at Vegas

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A final-round lap of 175.770 mph has given Ryan Blaney the pole for tonight’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Blaney’s pole run in the No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford was the culmination of a strange qualifying session on the 1.5-mile oval this afternoon.

With two minutes remaining in the 10-minute second round, only five drivers had posted a lap. That led to a mass exodus off of pit road, but with 18 seconds to go, the red flag came out for a spin involving John Wes Townley.

NASCAR needed some time to sort out who would be the Top 12 to advance to the final round. Ultimately, the matter was settled and Blaney went on to earn his second Truck Series pole of the year.

He’ll be joined on the front row by Darrell Wallace Jr., who posted a lap of 175.536 mph in his No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.

Tayler Malsam (175.041 mph) and German Quiroga (174.723) will make up the second row, followed by current points leader Matt Crafton and Spencer Gallagher in Row 3.

Crafton takes a seven-point championship lead into tonight’s Rhino Linings 350K (146 laps, 219 miles) over ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter, who qualified 16th on the outside of Row 8. Defending race winner Timothy Peters will start 17th.

Last week’s winner at New Hampshire, 16-year-old racer Cole Custer, is not competing in Vegas. He will return to the circuit for two more races at Martinsville next month and at Phoenix in November.

Green flag for the race is scheduled to drop shortly after 10 p.m. ET.



Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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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.