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

Indy Lights: Kyle Kirkwood joins Andretti Autosport

Road to Indy
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One of the Road to Indy’s most talented young drivers will climb another step up the development system ladder this season.

Kyle Kirkwood, the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 champion, has signed a contract to race for Andretti Autosport in the 2020 Indy Lights season. Kirkwood will drive the No. 28 car for the reigning championship team.

A native of Jupiter, Florida, 21-year-old Kirkwood has been incredibly successful in junior formulas over the last few years. He won the F4 US Championship 2017 and won both the F3 Americas and USF2000 titles in 2018.

Driving for RP Motorsport Racing, Kirkwood won 9 of 16 races in his maiden Indy Pro 2000 season last year, allowing him to win his fourth championship in three years and earn the Road to Indy scholarship.

“We are very excited about the addition of Kyle to our Indy Lights program,” Andretti Autosport CEO and Chairman Michael Andretti said. “We’ve followed Kyle’s career from when he started in 2018 with the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship and have been impressed with his success in every race that led to his Indy Pro 2000 Championship last year. As a championship-caliber team, Kyle displays the desire and talent that we look for in our drivers and are excited to see him hit the track for the 2020 Indy Lights season.”

Kirkwood previously drove for Andretti in a two-day test session at Sebring International Raceway in December. He will make his official debut for the team in the season-opening doubleheader at St. Petersburg on March 14-15.

“I am ecstatic that I can now say I am competing in Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport this season,” Kirkwood said. “They have established a winning program in Indy Lights and we plan on carrying that reputation throughout 2020.

“We are a fantastic match for each other and our Sebring test in December proved that.”

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