Keselowski will ‘race guts out’ at Talladega after finishing 38th at Kansas

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After wrecking and finishing 38th in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400, Brad Keselowski left Kansas Speedway in 11th place in the Chase standings, 44 points behind series leader Jimmie Johnson and seven points below the Chase cutoff line heading to Talladega next Sunday.

But to hear Keselowski, a four-time winner at Talladega, he’s feeling very confident that not only will he have another strong finish at NASCAR’s largest superspeedway, but that he’ll also make the cut when the Round of 12 is whittled to the Round of 8 after next Sunday’s race.

“I don’t think it is a must-win situation; I am not worried about it,” the 2012 Sprint Cup champion said. “I am going to go there and bust my butt to try to win but I don’t think it is a must win yet.

“I like Talladega. Talladega has been good to me and I am going to drive my butt off and at the end of the day I have faith that if it is meant to be, it is meant to be. We can’t get down. There is a long way to go still.”

Keselowski had a promising race going at Kansas until he slid up in front of Denny Hamlin on Lap 189, got loose and Hamlin couldn’t slow fast enough to avoid hitting the rear of Keselowski’s car.

That contact sent Keselowski’s Ford Fusion sailing left, where it made heavy contact with the concrete rumble strip at the entrance to pit road, causing extensive damage to his front end.

“I don’t know what happened,” Keselowski said. “Days like today are going to happen to anybody and everybody in the Chase. It is about the effort you have when that happens.”

Keselowski lost 29 laps while in the garage as his team worked feverishly to install a whole new front end on his race car.

Unfortunately, he got back out on the racetrack when a huge plume of smoke came out from the back of his car, signaling the end of his day once and for all.

“The guys busted their butt to get me back out,” Keselowski said. “They put on a whole new front end. There must have been some kind of damage to the engine (that caused the heavy smoke) from the spin.

“It was running fine before that. I think it is just unfortunate. I am not going to say for sure what happened to cause the spin. We will move forward. If we keep getting the effort like they did to fix this thing we will be fine.

“If my team keeps putting up this kind of effort, I don’t worry about today. We will win another race. We will win Talladega and other races and be fine. … I am proud of my guys for doing their best to recover and we will move on to Talladega and give ‘em hell.”

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Kyle Larson fastest in final practice for Coca-Cola 600

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CONCORD, N.C. — Kyle Larson topped the final practice session for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 with a speed at 186.400 mph.

The Cup points leader, Larson will start 39th in the race because his No. 42 Chevrolet didn’t clear inspection in time to qualify.

Ryan Blaney (185.861), Matt Kenseth (185.046), Kurt Busch (184.856) and Erik Jones (184.818) rounded out the top five.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was seventh fastest at 184.433 mph. Pole-sitter Kevin Harvick was 20th fastest at 182.648 mph.

Jimmie Johnson recorded the most laps in the session with 47.

Jamie McMurray had the best 10-lap average at 180.914 mph.

The session was stopped for a caution once after Brad Keselowski spun exiting Turn 4.

Click here for the full practice report.

Justin Allgaier wins pole for Charlotte Xfinity race

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CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier won the pole for the Xfinity Series’ Hisense 4K TV 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

With a speed at 182.488 mph, Allgaier earned his fifth Xfinity pole and his first since the March 2013 race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Allgaier is joined on the front row by Austin Dillon (181.519).

The top five was completed by Ryan Blaney (181.378), Daniel Hemric (181.324) and Kevin Harvick (181.245).

Christopher Bell will start seventh in his first Xfinity race.

Brad Keselowski and Dakoda Armstrong will start from the rear after not passing inspection in time to qualify.

Click here for full qualifying results.

Ryan Blaney leads second Coke 600 practice

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CONCORD, N.C. — Ryan Blaney posted the top speed in the second practice session for the Coca-Cola 600.

Blaney’s No. 21 Ford produced a speed of 188.055 mph Saturday morning around Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The top five was filled out by Erik Jones (187.598 mph), Martin Truex Jr. (187.084), Daniel Suarez (186.838) and Trevor Bayne (186.239).

Pole-sitter Kevin Harvick was ninth fastest at 185.567 mph. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 14th quickest at 185.141 mph.

Kyle Busch recorded the most laps in the session with 48.

Click here for the full practice report.

Eight teams lose 15 minutes of Coke 600 practice for failing pre-qualifying inspection

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CONCORD, N.C. — Eight Cup teams were held 15 minutes during Coca-Cola 600 practice today for failing pre-qualifying inspection on Thursday

Drivers include Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard, David Ragan, Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, Corey LaJoie and Chris Buescher.

Buescher’s team also loses pit selection for Sunday’s race because it failed inspection three times.

Larson and LaJoie’s loss of practice time comes after neither qualified Thuraday because their cars didn’t clear inspection in time.