NASCAR: Roush Fenway announces crew chief lineup

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Some of the outstanding pieces in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series garages were put into their respective puzzle places today with Roush Fenway Racing announcing its crew chief lineup.

Matt Puccia stays put on Greg Biffle’s No. 16 Ford. Meanwhile Bob Osborne, Carl Edwards’ longtime crew chief, will come back to the Cup level after a several-year hiatus since 2012. He’ll join Trevor Bayne’s No. 6 Ford.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. gets a new crew chief for his No. 17 Ford in Nick Sandler, who had been head engineer the last four years under Jimmy Fennig on the RFR No. 99. Mike Kelley continues as that car’s car chief.

Fennig stays on with the team as research and development coordinator, after announcing his semi-retirement from the crew chief role at the end of 2014.

“Bob Osborne is a proven commodity, as evidenced by his 18 wins as a Sprint Cup crew chief,” team owner Jack Roush said in a release. “He will bring a strong veteran presence to the No. 6 AdvoCare team, as Trevor Bayne makes the transition to full-time Sprint Cup racing.

“We have seen proven results with Matt Puccia and Greg Biffle and we will look to continue to build on that moving into 2015,” added Roush. “And we are excited about the elevation of Nick Sandler to crew chief on the No. 17. Nick has a strong engineering background with the company and his time working hand-in-hand with Jimmy Fennig over the past few seasons will prove invaluable as he takes the helm of the No. 17.

Kevin Kidd, who had been the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing crew chief in the NASCAR Nationwide (now XFINITY) Series, is the Sprint Cup team manager for that trio. Mark McArdle serves as the team’s engineering director for both the Cup and XFINITY programs.

In the XFINITY ranks, crew chiefs will be Phil Gould (No. 1, Elliott Sadler), Seth Barbour (No. 16, Ryan Reed), Scott Graves (No. 60, Chris Buescher) and Chad Norris (No. 6, Bubba Wallace). Norris took over as Edwards’ crew chief in 2012 when Osborne left his post midseason for health reasons.

Indy 500 qualifying: Today’s schedule, TV times, how the 33-car field is set

Indy 500 qualifying schedule
Doug Mathews/IndyCar
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The 33-car field of the 104th Indianapolis 500 will be set through the two-day Indy 500 qualifying schedule Saturday and Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Today’s session will determine the nine cars that will compete for the pole position and starting positions 10-30.

On Sunday, the pole position then will be determined in a Fast Nine Shootout (the top nine qualifiers also received NTT IndyCar Series points).

All on-track activity will be on NBC Sports Gold’s IndyCar pass (click here for streaming Saturday and here for Sunday), and Indy 500 qualifying will be on NBC from 3-5 p.m. ET Saturday and Indy 500 pole qualifying from 1-3 p.m. ET on NBC.

Last year, Simon Pagenaud captured the pole position on the way to winning last year’s Indy 500.

Qualifying speeds at Indianapolis Motor Speedway are determined by a four-lap average around the 2.5-mile track.

Here is the Indy 500 qualifying schedule and how to watch on TV:

Saturday, Aug. 15

5:30 a.m. – Garage opens

6 a.m. – Tech inspection

8:30-9:30 a.m. – Indianapolis 500 practice (NBC Sports Gold)

11 a.m.-5 p.m. – Indianapolis 500 qualifying (NBC Sports Gold; NBC coverage from 3-5 p.m.; NBCSN 5-6 p.m.)

7:30 p.m. – Garage closes

Sunday, Aug. 16

8 a.m. – Garage opens

9 a.m. — Tech inspection

11-11:30 a.m. – Indianapolis 500 practice (NBC Sports Gold)

1:15-2:15 p.m. – Fast Nine pole qualifying (NBC begins at 1 p.m., NBC Sports Gold)

3:30-6 p.m. – Indianapolis 500 practice (NBCSN, NBC Sports Gold)