Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott among four drivers 26 and under in top six in points

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Through the first three races of the NASCAR Cup season, it’s good to be young.

To be more specific, it’s good to be 26 years old or younger.

Four drivers who fit that description find themselves in the top 10 in points heading to Phoenix Raceway this weekend for the Camping World 500.

Despite no race wins or stage wins in the first three races of 2017, Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney are all in the top six in points.

The only drivers over the age of 30 in the top six are points leader Brad Keselowski (33) and Martin Truex Jr. (36), who is fourth.

Larson (24 years old) is one point behind Brad Keselowski for the points lead. Elliott (21) is third, three points back from Keselowski. The oldest of the group, Logano (26), is fifth, 13 points back. Blaney (23), is sixth, 26 points behind the lead.

Larson has had the best season so far with two runner-up finishes in the first three races.

Elliott has two top fives and a finish of 14th in the Daytona 500.

Logano hasn’t finished worse than sixth this season and goes to Phoenix as the most recent winner (last fall’s playoff race) on the 1-mile track.

After finishing second in the Daytona 500, Blaney has finished 18th (Atlanta) and seventh (Las Vegas).

Logano and Larson are the only two of the group with Cup wins, with Logano’s fall 2016 win the only Phoenix victory between them.

With an average finish of 13.2 in six starts, Larson has finished better than 10th at Phoenix once. He claimed third in the race Logano won.

“I’m not like a short track racer, so I seem to struggle at those places, but last year we had some good runs at short tracks,” Larson said in a press release. “I feel like I’ve gotten a little bit better and I think my crew chief has kind of learned what I need at short tracks to help me out. It’s weird, but I kind of look forward to going to those places right now.”

Elliott finished eighth and ninth in his two Phoenix starts last year. Blaney finished 10th and eighth.

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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 of 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 is 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 Bush 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 will be 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 due to failing pre-qualifying inspection three ties.

Larson and LaJoie’s loss of practice time comes on top of them not making qualifying runs on Thursday after neither of their cars passed inspection in time.

 

NASCAR America: How much risk should drivers take in the Coca-Cola 600?

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As in many things in life, whether something is worth doing comes down to risk vs. reward.

Such will be the case in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. How much are drivers willing to risk? Will that risk be worth reward, particularly with the additional stage to the race?

On Friday’s NASCAR America, Parker Kligerman jumped into the iRacing simulator and showed the greatest strategies to employ in Sunday’s race, especially with the traction compound up top.

Check out the above video.