Kyle Busch wins the pole for the Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. He wins the pole with a speed of 138.287 mph. This would be Busch’s first pole of the 2016 season after the pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway was taken away. With the pole being taken away at Atlanta, Kyle was more hesitant about celebrating in post-qualifying interviews, waiting for the car to go through the “room of doom”.
Joe Gibbs Racing continues to show dominance in qualifying. All four Joe Gibbs Racing teams made the final round of qualifying. Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin will start in the next two positions.
In his media availability, Carl Edwards mentioned, “The race is so different from qualifying. After about eight laps long in final practice, we will know who is fast.”
Kyle Busch had an itch of confidence coming into qualifying today. “I wasn’t going out there strutting my stuff like I was going to sit on the pole. I was trying to get a good lap in, get a good effort in, and get a good pit selection. It all transpired into being a really good day though.”
Qualifying went south for Hendrick Motorsports as two of their teams will be switching to backup cars after qualifying. Kasey Kahne posted a blazing lap in the first round of qualifying, but as he was heading back to pit road, the engine was engulfed in smoke. Kahne told Motor Racing Network’s Kim Coon, “Something happened after I shut it off. Something inside the engine. We will have to change engines,” moments after the accident occurred. Jimmie Johnson hit the wall in turn one during the final round of qualifying. He will also go to a backup car. He is not sure what happened going into the first turn. “Not so sure. Definitely a hard hit. We have a very fast racecar, I know my team will bring me a fast race car, at least we have tomorrow to work on it.”
Many notable drivers did not make the final round of qualifying. In the first round, Bowyer (35), Dale Jr. (26), Casey Mears (25), and Danica Patrick (36) failed to make the top 24 to enter the second round. In the second round, Chase Elliott (17), Kevin Harvick (18), and Brad Keselowski (19) failed to make it into the final round
A strong performance was shown from Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sebates in qualifying. Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray made it into the final round of qualifying. Both drivers will be starting inside the top 12 on Sunday.
On-track activities resume for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for the first of two practices on Fox Sports 1 at 10:30 am.
1. Kyle Busch
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Kurt Busch
5. Jimmie Johnson
6. Matt Kenseth
7. Kyle Larson
8. Martin Truex Jr.
9. Joey Logano
10. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
11. Jamie McMurray
12. Ryan Blaney
13. Greg Biffle
14. Aric Almirola
15. Austin Dillon
16. Paul Menard
17. Chase Elliott
18. Kevin Harvick
19. Brad Keselowski
20. Ryan Newman
21. Trevor Bayne
22. AJ Allmendinger
23. Matt DiBenedetto
24. Kasey Kahne
25. Casey Mears
26. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
27. Landon Cassill
28. Ty Dillon
29. David Ragan
30. Brian Scott
31. Regan Smith
32. Chris Buescher
33. Michael McDowell
34. Cole Whitt
35. Clint Bowyer
36. Danica Patrick
37. Josh Wise
38. Michael Annett
39. Joey Gase
In what was one of the weirdest ranges of weather sequences in NASCAR history, Brad Keselowski left the field in the dust on his way to Victory Lane, picking up his first win of the season and 18th of his career.
With five laps to go in the Kobalt 400 on Sunday, Brad Keselowski passed Kyle Busch in what was the eventual race winning pass. This is his second triumph in Las Vegas in the last three years.
The No. 2 car was running third throughout the last stint of the race, but with roughly 10 laps to go was closing in on the lead and after passing his teammate Joey Logano then able to chase down Busch.
“This rules package, I love it,” Keselowski said. “You can be really fast at the start of the run or really fast at the end of the run and we had awesome speed at the end of every run. It seemed like we could just never put it all together with the way the cautions kept falling. At the end we got that big long run and couldn’t get going for the first few laps.”
Keselowski’s victory didn’t come without adversity. He was caught speeding on pit road with 90 laps to go. But after a caution with 53 laps to go, the No. 2 team stayed out when others decided to pit. He was able to go the distance on fuel and solidify himself into the 2016 edition of the Chase.
Logano came home second after a last lap pass on Busch. Leading 75 laps, the No. 22 team picked up its first top-five finish of the young season. However, he insisted that again, it is disappointing finishing second after so many second-place finishes in Daytona.
Atlanta winner, Jimmie Johnson came home third after also passing Busch on the final lap. The No. 48 car was out front for 76 circuits, the most of all drivers.
Dominating the middle potion of the race was what the six-time champion did. But after getting off-sequence with the rest of the field he needed to overcome other teams that took two tires when he took four.
The aforementioned Busch finished fourth at his home racetrack. On a restart with 44 laps to go the No. 18 car restarted sixth and by Turn 3 of that lap had made his way to the lead for the first time on the afternoon.
He led the remainder of the race until five laps to go when Keselowski passed him. He believed that it was a vibration that kept him out of the winner circle.
“Huge vibration,” Busch said as to why he lost the race. “I had a vibration when we put the rights on and it just kept getting worse and worse and worse. At the end I didn’t know if a tire was coming apart or what the deal was. I was giving it everything I had.”
Austin Dillon bounced back from a pit road speeding penalty on Lap 147 to a top-five finish. At one point of the race the No. 3 car was two laps down, after running in the top 10 all race long. On the same caution that Keselowski and Logano stayed out, so did Dillon for track position. This is his third career top-five finish.
Ryan Blaney was the highest finishing rookie on Sunday, finishing in sixth. Spending much of the day inside of the top 10, he needed to miss a wreck late in the race to come back to sixth.
That wreck with 43 laps to go came when one of the pre-race favorites Matt Kenseth slid up the track after getting loose where Chase Elliott rear-ended the No. 20 machine. Also caught up in the wreck were Carl Edwards and pole-sitter Kurt Busch.
Kenseth’s bad luck to start the season continued while getting caught up in that incident. After losing the Daytona 500 on the final lap, a pit road penalty in Atlanta, he was desperate for a good finish in Sin City. While leading nine laps, a 37th-place effort doesn’t help his causes.
The pole-sitter came back to finish in ninth. Outside of the No. 18 team, Joe Gibbs Racing struggled with Edwards in 18th the second-highest finisher out of that Toyota camp, Denny Hamlin was just behind in 19th.
Kevin Harvick finished seventh and he extended his consecutive top 10 streak to start the season. He is one of two drivers to finish in the top 10 in all three races, the other being 2015 champion Busch.
Next Sunday the Cup Series heads to Phoenix in the second of three west coast races. Harvick is the defending winner of the spring race and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the fall event in the desert.
The last few laps proved to be a nailbiter for Busch. "We were worried about fuel, but more so, we were worried about (Daniel) Suarez," he said in the Toyota post-race press release. "He was on me there at the end, he was really, really fast. He was faster than us when he got a clean track. Everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing prepares some really fast Camrys and this one was the best.”
Suarez took over the NASCAR Xfinity points lead with his second-place run in the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota. Erik Jones suffered an early pit road penalty but he rebounded back to a third-place finish in the No. 20 Interstate Batteries Toyota.
Suarez did his best to run down Busch but in the end, he came up short. "It took me too much time to figure out how to be fast with a loose race car in traffic," Suarez said in a FS1 post-race interview. "I'm super proud of Joe Gibbs Racing. The car was one of the fastest all day long."
There was not enough time for Justin Marks to make a split-second decision when he was involved in an incident with Cody Ware and Darrell Wallace Jr. that brought out a red flag at lap 137. " I'm fine. When a car spins out and stays up at the wall like that it makes everybody's decision pretty easy but when that car starts sliding down the race track off the wall, we have to make a decision pretty quick," Marks said in a PRN interview after the wreck. "It was a matter of luck. The 16 and 98 barely got through as one went high and one went low. Darrell went low and got into it and I went high and got into it."
Wallace Jr. suffered heavy damage when he clipped the No. 25 Chevrolet of Marks. “It's just unfortunate", he said in a post-crash Ford release. "We were making gains on our Ford Mustang all day and getting it better and better. By the time I slowed down, it just jumped out from under me. Just unfortunate circumstances."
Next week, the Series heads to Phoenix International Raceway. The race is scheduled to start at 12:30 PM MT (track time), 2:30 PM ET on FOX, MRN and Sirius XM Channel 90.
1. Kyle Busch
2. Daniel Suarez
3. Erik Jones
4. Chase Elliott
5. Austin Dillon
6. Brandon Jones
7. Ty Dillon
8. Elliott Sadler
9. Justin Allgaier
10. Brendan Gaughan
After having an unusual Friday, Joe Gibbs Racing picked up the speed in race trim and swept both rounds of practice in Las Vegas led by Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards.
In the morning practice that began at 8:30 a.m. Carl Edwards paced the field in a backup car at 191.564 mph. The No. 19 Toyota had to go to a backup car after following a crash in round two of qualifying on Friday. In the first round he was fourth fastest, but the team worked until the late hours on Friday evening to prepare the new car.
After qualifying fifth, Austin Dillon was second fast on one lap speed. The No. 3 car also was among the fastest on 10-lap speeds.
Casey Mears finished the session in third, .128 seconds behind Edwards. Kasey Kahne finished with the fourth best lap and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five.
Polesitter Kurt Busch was the lowest on the speed chart that he had been all weekend at 10th, while his teammate and defending winner of this race Kevin Harvick was mired down in 22nd.
Struggling all weekend long has been Kyle Busch, who posted the 27th time. Joey Logano was a disappointing 30th on the board following the first session, though qualifying outside of the front row for Sunday’s 400-mile event.
Kenseth laid down a lap early on in the session that would remain atop the board for the entirety of the session. At 189.460 mph, the No. 20 Toyota laid down a lap that would be more similar to race conditions.
Edwards was able to finish out “Happy Hour” second quick. He self-admittedly was happy that the team is using the backup car because of the speed that it has shown throughout the first two practices.
Busch was just over a tenth of a second behind Kenseth in third. The Las Vegas native is looking for his first career win at his hometown track on Sunday.
Richard Childress Racing teammates Paul Menard and Ryan Newman finished out the top five. The No. 27 car ran 54 laps, the most of all teams as he is looking to take advantage of running at one of his best tracks this weekend.
Dillon had the 11th overall speed, but was the fastest on the 10 consecutive lap average. He was so happy with his car that they covered the car up with 20 minutes remaining in practice.
Busch and Logano were able to get their cars to a respectable speed of 14th and 17th. Just like the morning practice Harvick finished 22nd on the chart.
The third race of the Sprint Cup season will begin at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday where one team will look to solidify itself in the Chase.
Joe Gibbs Racing has never won an Xfinity race on the 1.5 mile track but all three of their drivers had great speed during all three qualifying sessions. Kyle Busch, Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez will all lead the field to green when the 200-lap race rolls off later this afternoon.
Busch led round one in the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota with a lap time of 29.522. Busch bettered his time by .086 in round two with 29.436. He went on to grab his 50th Xfinity pole in the five-minute dash known as round three, posting a time of 29.559.
Jones had solid qualifying laps to earn a front row starting spot. He recorded a lap of 29.566 in the final round and will start second in the No. 20 Interstate Batteries Toyota.
Suarez wasn't far behind his teammates in the qualifying rounds. He will start third behind Busch in the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota. Suarez is currently ranked second in the Xfinity standings, just three points behind Elliott Sadler.
Tune into FS1, PRN and Sirius XM Channel 90 for race coverage starting at 12:30 PM PT, 3:30 PM ET.
Here's how the qualifying session stacked up:
1. Kyle Busch
2. Erik Jones
3. Brandon Jones
1. Kyle Busch
2. Daniel Suarez
3. Erik Jones
Top 10 Starters
1. Kyle Busch
2. Erik Jones
3. Daniel Suarez
4. Chase Elliott
5. Brandon Jones
6. Justin Allgaier
7. Elliott Sadler
8. Brendan Gaughan
9. Ty Dillon
10. Aric Almirola