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Coors Light no longer the official beer of NASCAR

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Coors Light will no longer be the official beer of NASCAR and will not be the sponsor of NASCAR’s pole awards in 2018, NBC Sports has confirmed.

Sports Business Journal first reported the news.

The move ends a relationship that began in 2008 with an initial five-year deal. The deal was last renewed in 2012.

Coors Light is owned by MillerCoors and its parent company Molson Coors Brewing Co., which also produces Miller Lite.

SBJ reported the two sides could not reach an agreement to extend the deal that expires on Dec. 31, “despite last-ditch efforts by NASCAR in recent weeks to salvage some form of a pact.”

The company sponsored the pole award in the Cup and Xfinity Series. It sponsored the pole award in the Camping World Truck Series through its Keystone Light brand.

MillerCoors remains in the sport as a sponsor of Team Penske’s No. 2 Ford driven by Brad Keselowski.

Miller Lite will be on Keselowski’s car for 11 races in 2018, extending its partnership with the team into its 28th year.

Prior to Coors Lite’s role as the official beer of NASCAR, Anheuser-Busch held the sponsor with its Budweiser brand from 1998-2007.

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Kyle Busch dominated 2017 Cup pole winners with career-best total

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Martin Truex Jr. finished the 2017 Cup season with the championship and his name at the top of almost every significant stat category, including laps led, top fives, top 10s, race wins and stage wins.

But there was one stat that Truex wasn’t even close to leading the series in.

When it came to the number of poles Truex claimed in his title campaign, the No. 78 Toyota bested the field just three times in the season’s 34 qualifying sessions (out of 36 races).

It was Kyle Busch‘s eight poles, a career-best, that led the series. Joe Gibbs Racing led all teams with 12 poles.

Busch led Kevin Harvick (four), Kyle Larson (three), Truex and Brad Keselowski (two) among the 14 drivers who won at least one pole.

Busch’s previous career-high was three, twice (2013-14).

He started from the pole at Dover I, Pocono I, Kentucky, Indianapolis, Pocono II, Watkins Glen, Chicago and New Hampshire II.

Four of his poles came in a five-race stretch, including three straight at Indianapolis, Pocono II and Watkins Glen. He won twice from the pole, at Pocono II and New Hampshire II.

Harvick’s four poles (Atlanta, Texas I, Coke 600, Southern 500) are the second most in his career, following his eight in 2014 when he won the title. Sixteen of Harvick’s 21 Cup poles have come in the last five seasons. He didn’t win any from 2007-2012.

Larson’s three poles (Auto Club, Michigan I and Sonoma) brought his career total to four. His first came in 2014.

Truex’s three poles (Loudon I, Dover II and Kansas II) fell short of his career-high of five from last year. He has 15 poles in his 12 full-time seasons.

Keselowski’s two poles (Las Vegas, Michigan II) bring his career total to 14.

Two drivers, Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones, won their first Cup poles.

Jimmie Johnson failed to earn a pole for just the second time in his full-time career, which began in 2002.

Here’s the full list of 2017 pole winners.

Kyle Busch – Eight
Kevin Harvick – Four
Kyle Larson – Three
Martin Truex Jr. – Three
Brad Keselowski – Two
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Two
Denny Hamlin – Two
Joey Logano – Two
Matt Kenseth – Two
Ryan Blaney – Two
Chase Elliott – One
Erik Jones – One
Kurt Busch – One
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – One

Sprint Cup pole winners list after 2016

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The 2016 Sprint Cup season saw three veterans set career marks for poles in a season and two drivers earn their first poles.

Carl Edwards (six), Martin Truex Jr. (five) and Austin Dillon (two) achieved personal bests during the 36-race season, which had 14 different pole winners.

Chase Elliott started the year with his first pole in the Daytona 500. Then in the fall race at Phoenix International Raceway, Alex Bowman, substituting for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88, won his first pole in the Can-Am 500.

Despite not having won a pole since 2013, Ryan Newman still has a huge lead over active full-time drivers with 51 poles. And despite saying multiple times this season he’s not very good at qualifying, Jimmie Johnson added to his second best total with his 35th pole.

Tony Stewart ended his Sprint Cup career with 15 poles.

Here’s a look at how the list of active full-time drivers with poles looks after 2016.

Ryan Newman – 51 poles; Last – 2013 Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire

Jimmie Johnson – 35 poles; Last – 2016 New Hampshire 301

Kasey Kahne – 27 poles; Last – 2015 Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan

Denny Hamlin – 24 poles; Last – 2016 Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond

Carl Edwards – 22 poles; Last – 2016 Bad Boy Off Road 300 at New Hampshire

Kurt Busch  21 poles; Last – 2016 Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas

Kyle Busch – 19 poles; Last – 2016 Brickyard 400

Matt Kenseth  18 poles; Last – 2016 Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas

Joey Logano – 17 poles; Last – 2016 Pure Michigan 400

Kevin Harvick – 17 poles; Last – 2016 Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead

Greg Biffle – 13 poles; Last – 2016 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 13 poles; Last – 2013 AAA 400 at Dover

Martin Truex Jr. – 12 poles; Last – 2016 Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville

Brad Keselowski –  12 poles; Last – 2016 Axalta ‘We Paint Winners’ 400 at Pocono

Jamie McMurray – 11 poles; Last –  2014 Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville

AJ Allmendinger – four poles; Last – 2015 Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen

Casey Mears – three poles; Last – 2007 USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland

Austin Dillon – three poles; Last – 2016 AAA Texas 500

David Ragan – two poles; Last – 2011 Brickyard 400

Clint Bowyer – two poles; Last – 2007 Sylvania 300

Chase Elliott – two poles; Last – 2016 Geico 500 at Talladega

Danica Patrick – one pole; Last – 2013 Daytona 500

Paul Menard – one pole; Last – 2009 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – one pole; 2013 AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta

Kyle Larson – one pole; 2014 GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono

Aric Almirola – one pole; 2012 Coca-cola 600 at Charlotte

Social Roundup: Chase Elliott celebrating 21st birthday

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The picture at the top of this post might become a familiar sight in the coming years. Chase Elliott, in victory lane, celebrating a pole for a Sprint Cup race.

But after today, that sight will be a little different. From now on Elliott will get to celebrate the Coors Light Pole Award instead of the 21 Means 21 Pole Award.

The son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott turns 21 today.

It was a big year for Elliott. He finally went full-time in Cup driving the famous No. 24, he won the pole for his first Daytona 500, won the Xfinity Series opener at Daytona and qualified for his first Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Here’s how NASCAR Twitter has celebrated Elliott’s birthday, beginning with a special message and photo from his mother, Cindy Elliott.

 

 

 

Matt Kenseth earns pole for Sprint Cup’s Coca-Cola 600

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Matt Kenseth has won the pole for the Sprint Cup Series’ Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday.

Kenseth’s speed of 194.252 mph gave the Joe Gibbs Racing driver his second pole of the year (Bristol) and his first pole for a points race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Prior to the final round of qualifying, Kenseth joked to Fox Sports 1 that he only averaged one pole a year.

“I thought we had some speed in practice, just never really had the balance or the perfect lap,” said Kenseth, who mentioned the car for this weekend is different from the one he ran in the Sprint All-Star Race. “Everyone at JGR has been working honestly around the clock to get all these cars done and get us better stuff.”

Joining him on the front row will be Joey Logano in his No. 22 Ford. Logano’s speed of 192.836 mph puts him on the front row for the first time at Charlotte, but he was in a bit of shock at Kenseth’s speed.

“Second is nice, but look at the difference and how much I needed to pick up,” Logano told Fox Sports 1. “That was a very fast lap by the 20, congratulations to them. I don’t know how to go that fast.”

Completing the top five was Carl Edwards (192.733), Greg Biffle (192.226) in fourth for his best start of the year and Denny Hamlin (192.007).

None of Hendrick Motorsports’ four drivers advanced to the final round. Jimmie Johnson was knocked out of the top 12 at the last second by Martin Truex Jr. and will start 13th. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will roll off 15th and Jeff Gordon will start his final Coca-Cola 600 from 16th.

Kasey Kahne failed to advance passed the first round after his No. 5 Chevrolet cut a left-rear tire, causing him to qualify 33rd.

The last time all four cars failed to make it to the final round was at Sonoma in 2014.

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