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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‘One and Only’ Kyle Larson wins Outlaws opener at Knoxville Raceway

Kyle Larson wins Knoxville
Paul Arch/World of Outlaws
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The magic of dirt racing wins for Kyle Larson continued Thursday night at Knoxville Raceway, where he scored his third consecutive World of Outlaws victory at the famed half-mile track to open “The One and Only.”

After starting 10th, Larson sliced through the field and passed pole-sitter Logan Schuchart to lead the final eight laps in the No. 57 of car owner Paul Silva.

“Just an awesome race,” Larson said after earning $10,000 for his second consecutive NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series victory (after winning at Pevely, Missouri, last Saturday), his sixth Outlaws victory this season and 14th of his career.

LARSON ON NASCAR‘I’d love an opportunity if it came’

“I was able to track Logan down and hit the bottom really well in (turns) 1 and 2 and got a run on him.  It felt like I needed to take advantage of that before we got to heavier traffic and slid him and felt some contact. So, glad to see him not in the wall or anything like that. Just, hard work there. Heartbeat is up again.”

Kyle Larson wins Knoxville
Kyle Larson scored his sixth World of Outlaws victory Thursday (Trent Gower/World of Outlaws).

It was the fourth Knoxville victory this year for Larson, who swept a World of Outlaws doubleheader weekend June 12-13 at the Sprint Car Captial of the World. He has more than 30 victories this year in sprint cars and midgets.

The One and Only continues Friday night with another $10,000 feature race that will set the starting lineup for Saturday’s Brownells Capitani Classic, which pays $50,000 to win.

The event is the Outlaws’ richest purse of 2020 and subs in for the annual Knoxville Nationals, which was canceled for COVID-19 concerns. Larson, a two-time Knoxville Nationals runner-up, has said winning The One and Only would be on the same as Knoxville’s signature event because of its tough three-day format.

Through the first of three nights, Schuchart and Larson are tied for second in The One and Only points standings, which factor in qualifying, heats, dash and feature races. Aaron Reutzel, an All Star Circuit of Champions stalwart who finished third Thursday, leads with 430 points.

A crash in Thursday’s 25-lap feature eliminated past Outlaws champions Brad Sweet and Donny Schatz after Cory Eliason spun in front of Sweet in Turn 1 to start the wreck, which also collected Sweet’s teammate, James McFadden. Sweet and Schatz finished outside the top 20, which moved Schuchart into the points lead for the 2020 season.

Schuchart still seemed slightly miffed after finishing second to Larson.

“As the race went on, I felt like I wasn’t hitting my marks as good,” he said. “I would have liked to of had a little bit better of a race with Kyle there. I wish his slide job was a little better there, but he’s got a reputation to live up to. That’s where you let other people make the rules and maybe we’ll get him next time.”


RESULTS

NOS Energy Drink Feature (25 Laps) – 1. 57-Kyle Larson [10]; 2. 1S-Logan Schuchart [1]; 3. 87-Aaron Reutzel [2]; 4. 2-Carson Macedo [24]; 5. 41-David Gravel [6]; 6. 21-Brian Brown [7]; 7. 71-Spencer Bayston [3]; 8. 18-Gio Scelzi [15]; 9. 12N-Joey Saldana [5]; 10. 5-Ian Madsen [19]; 11. 17A-Austin McCarl [21]; 12. 1A-Jacob Allen [11]; 13. 7BC-Tyler Courtney [16]; 14. 7S-Jason Sides [20]; 15. 24-Rico Abreu [22]; 16. 4-Terry McCarl [13]; 17. 2KS-Brooke Tatnell [18]; 18. O9-Matt Juhl [23]; 19. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [25]; 20. 83-Daryn Pittman [9]; 21. 11K-Kraig Kinser [17]; 22. 15-Donny Schatz [8]; 23. 26-Cory Eliason [4]; 24. 49-Brad Sweet [12]; 25. 9-James McFadden [14]; Lap Leaders: Logan Schuchart 1-17, Kyle Larson 18-25; KSE Hard Charger Award: 2-Carson Macedo[+20]

Kyle Larson wins Knoxville
Kyle Larson celebrated with his family and team after the first night of The One and Only (Trent Gower/World of Outlaws).