Kurt Busch stays perfect for weekend, leads Sprint Cup happy hour


Kurt Busch continued his reign over the speed charts at Auto Club Speedway, once again being the fastest driver in the final Sprint Cup Series practice Saturday afternoon.

Busch has been the fastest driver in the Sprint Cup Series this weekend – period. He was the fastest in all three practice sessions, as well as earned the pole for Sunday’s Auto Club 400.

Now all that’s left for him to cap off a perfect weekend is to win Sunday’s race.

Busch, who at one point in Saturday’s final practice hit over 205 mph on the back stretch according to Fox Sports 1, once again led the way with a speed of 184.971 mph.

Paul Menard was second-fastest at 183.885 mph, followed by Kevin Harvick at 183.220 mph.

Busch and Harvick will start Sunday’s race from the front row.

Casey Mears was fourth-fastest (183.146) followed by Jimmie Johnson (182.992).

Here’s the speed chart from Saturday’s final Sprint Cup practice:

1 Kurt Busch … 184.971 mph … 45 laps
2 Paul Menard … 183.885 … 35 laps
3 Kevin Harvick … 183.220 … 31 laps
4 Casey Mears … 183.146 … 34 laps
5 Jimmie Johnson … 182.992 … 45 laps
6 Martin Truex Jr. … 182.783 … 28 laps
7 Ryan Newman … 182.699 … 40 laps
8 Joey Logano … 182.348 … 36 laps
9 Brad Keselowski … 182.292 … 40 laps
10 Dale Earnhardt Jr. … 182.099 … 42 laps
11 Danica Patrick … 182.007 … 33 laps
12 David Ragan … 181.713 … 34 laps
13 Kasey Kahne … 181.644 … 33 laps
14 Greg Biffle … 181.644 … 33 laps
15 Matt Kenseth … 181.493 … 35 laps
16 Kyle Larson … 181.433 … 41 laps
17 Denny Hamlin … 181.420 … 32 laps
18 Carl Edwards … 181.128 … 29 laps
19 Austin Dillon … 181.018 … 42 laps
20 Clint Bowyer … 180.591 … 37 laps
21 AJ Allmendinger … 180.438 … 31 laps
22 Jeff Gordon … 180.140 … 21 laps
23 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. … 179.623 … 22 laps
24 Brian Scott … 179.596 … 35 laps
25 Aric Almirola … 179.395 … 37 laps
26 Jamie McMurray … 179.185 … 33 laps
27 Tony Stewart … 179.096 … 19 laps
28 Justin Allgaier … 178.909 … 23 laps
29 Sam Hornish Jr. … 178.620 … 23 laps
30 Landon Cassill … 177.945 … 25 laps
31 Alex Bowman … 177.857 … 27 laps
32 Brett Moffitt … 177.721 … 35 laps
33 Trevor Bayne … 177.624 … 18 laps
34 Josh Wise … 177.279 … 30 laps
35 Cole Whitt … 177.257 … 17 laps
36 Chris Buescher … 177.048 … 28 laps
37 Michael Annett … 176.791 … 24 laps
38 JJ Yeley … 176.600 … 27 laps
39 David Gilliland … 175.987 … 20 laps
40 Jeb Burton … 175.966 … 26 laps
41 Mike Bliss … 175.161 … 16 laps

Best 10 consecutive lap average:

1 Kurt Busch … 180.470
2 Kevin Harvick … 180.294
3 Jimmie Johnson … 180.020
4 Denny Hamlin … 179.683
5 Brad Keselowski … 179.159

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Updated entry lists for Cup, Truck at Martinsville

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Here are the entry lists for this weekend’s races.

Cup – STP 500 (2 p.m. ET Sunday on Fox Sports 1)

Thirty-six cars are entered for the sixth Cup race of the year. D.J. Kennington is listed in the No. 77 Spire Motorsports entry.

Jeb Burton is entered in Rick Ware Racing’s No. 52 Ford.

Click here for the entry list.

Gander Outdoors Truck – Martinsville 250 (2 p.m. ET Saturday on Fox Sports 1)

Thirty-nine trucks are entered. Those also entered in the Cup race are Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon and Ross Chastain. Bubba Wallace is entered in AM Racing’s No. 22 truck.

Click here for the entry list.

NASCAR America Motormouths at 5 p.m. ET with Bubba Wallace

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America presents Motormouths airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Rutledge Wood hosts with Kyle Petty and they’ll be joined by special guest Bubba Wallace.

Fans will have the chance to call into the show to ask questions.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Indy 500 analyst role part of looking forward for Danica Patrick

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It’s been 10 months since Danica Patrick last competed in an auto racing event and she is completely fine with that.

Patrick was last seen in a cockpit in last May’s Indianapolis 500, part of her mini-retirement tour from racing that also included a run in the Daytona 500.

Now she’ll be back at the track, serving as an analyst for NBC’s broadcast of the 103rd Indy 500 on May 26.

It will be an interlude to her post-racing career.

“I really don’t miss racing,” Patrick said during a teleconference Wednesday.  “I’m really happy. I selfishly set out (with) the intention I wanted to travel a lot. I’ve definitely done that. Also working on my other businesses.”

Without racing, Patrick is able to look over her “Warrior” clothing line and her Somnium wine. She’s also been a host of ESPN’s Espy Awards show.

“I’m not a look-back kind of person, I’m a look-forward (person),” Patrick said. “This is something that’s part of looking forward. This is something totally new and different for me. It’s coming at a place where I have a lot of history, but it hasn’t been my job, which is why I’m going to work really hard to make sure I’m ready, like anything else I do that’s different.

Since retiring, Patrick said she watches racing “when I can.”

“I’m not going to lie, I’m happy doing what I’m doing,” Patrick said. “It’s allowed me new opportunities like this.”

This won’t be the first time Patrick has served in an analyst role for a race. She did the same for some Xfinity Series race broadcasts in the last few years of her NASCAR career.

“It’s very good to have had that experience,” Patrick said. “Obviously I was giving my driving experience sort of perspective and that insight, which is something I’m going to be doing again. But it was a guest spot.

“This is firm and established, part of a small team of two with Mike (Tirico) and I. I think there’s going to be a lot more preparation involved, I’m going to need to know a lot more information.”

Patrick said there will be one difference in her Indy 500 experience this year compared to the eight times she competed in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

“I didn’t purposely look at the buildup of the day,” Patrick said. “I didn’t want to see the fans rolling in, all the pomp and circumstance. I really liked to keep it quiet. I wanted to just walk out there and have it be the event, not let myself get built up too much in my head with nerves, just the platform, the iconic event that it was, the millions of people. I just wanted to stay focused and go do it.

“This time, I’m sure I will see the buildup. I’m sure I’ll see the place fill in and turn from a quiet, peaceful, magical place, (and) at the shot of a cannon it’s going to start unraveling. That will be a cool perspective for me that I purposely haven’t really watched closely.”

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Bubba Wallace entered in Truck race at Martinsville

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AM Racing announced Wednesday that Bubba Wallace will drive the No. 22 entry in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series race Saturday at Martinsville Speedway.

AM Racing tweeted: “In an effort to advance the performance component of our program, we will be putting a different Chevrolet driver in the seat of the No. 22 Chevrolet Silverado for Martinsville Speedway this weekend.”

AM Racing stated that Wallace “has been selected with very specific objectives regarding program feedback and development. His record at the track speaks for itself.”

Wallace, who will be on Wednesday’s NASCAR America (5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN), has two wins in four starts in the Truck series at Martinsville. He won there in 2013 and in 2014. Both times he won driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Austin Wayne Self had driven the No. 22 entry in the first three Truck races of the season. He finished ninth at Daytona and followed that with a 27th-place finish at Atlanta and a 15th-place finish in Las Vegas. He is 12th in the points.