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Logano, Keselowski help salvage 2015 Sprint Cup finale for Ford

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Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano helped salvage Sunday’s season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 for Ford, finishing third and fourth, respectively.

While Chris Buescher claimed the Xfinity Series championship Saturday for Ford, when it came to Sunday’s final round in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, three Chevrolet drivers and one Toyota driver were in the championship-deciding field, shutting out Ford drivers from a race in which its manufacturer was the entitlement sponsor.

But the two Penske Racing teammates helped show that Ford still has a lot of power under the hood in Sunday’s race.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t win and that’s what we wanted to do,” said Logano, who started second and led 72 laps of the 267-lap race.

“We had a few good runs and made an adjustment that just took it out of the track and by the time we got it back we lost too much track position. We had a bad pit stop under green and lost more there, so it was too little, too late. We couldn’t redeem ourselves after a couple mistakes.”

As for Keselowski …

“The last four races we have run pretty strong – maybe not quite as strong at Phoenix as we wanted – but three of the four races we were really strong and we just didn’t have enough to close it at the end,” he said after leading a race-high 86 laps.

“I was really proud of my team, really happy with what they were able to give me and we were able to take a run at it. We just didn’t quite have enough at the end on that final restart to hold those guys off.”

Race winner and series champion Kyle Busch was a bit surprised that Keselowski took the inside line on the final restart six laps from the finish.

Keselowski said; “I don’t really know if there was a right one or a wrong one to be honest. We just weren’t fast enough, and I don’t think it would have mattered either way.”

As for the other Ford drivers in the field, it was likely not the way they wanted to end their respective seasons.

Here’s how they wound up:

Greg Biffle (15th), Ryan Blaney (17th), Trevor Bayne (18th), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (22nd), Sam Hornish Jr. (25th), Cole Whitt (28th), Brett Moffitt (31st), David Gilliland (32nd), Michael McDowell (33rd), Josh Wise (39th) and Aric Almirola (41st).

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Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman ‘clear the air’ about All-Star incident

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CONCORD, N.C. — Five days after Clint Bowyer threw several punches at Ryan Newman as Newman sat in his car after the All-Star Race, the two sat side by side during an autograph session at a Bass Pro Shops near Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Bowyer was upset with Newman for contact that led to Bowyer crashing after last weekend’s race. After Bowyer drove to pit road, he ran to Newman’s car while still wearing his helmet — earning a rebuke from his team owner for not removing his helmet. After reaching Newman’s car, Bowyer unleashed a number of punches.

Both drivers talked this week before they got to the autograph session.

“It was good to have a conversation about it,” Bowyer said Thursday night after qualifying eighth at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. “At the end of the day there were a lot of things that escalated very fast and obviously got out of hand.

“There’s one thing I can always promise you about something like that and it is unfortunate, and you hate having things like that happen, (but) that’s probably the best attended autograph session at Bass Pro Shops that I’ve had in a long, long time.

“Obviously I don’t want to do that every weekend. At the end of the day we all love this sport, we are all passionate about this sport and every now and then that shows a little brighter.”

Bowyer was asked if he thought Newman would retaliate.

“I don’t know,” Bowyer said. “Hopefully it’s behind us. We both have a little better understanding of how it escalated into that and you’ve just got to get stuff like that behind you.”

Newman said it was good to talk to Bowyer about what happened.

“It was good to kind of clear the air,” Newman said. “It is what it is. It’s the past. Just something you always remember. You learn about somebody in a situation like that.”

Newman was asked if he’ll race Bowyer differently.

“I try to race everybody the same way and that’s hard because that’s what I get paid to do,” said Newman, who qualified 18th for the Coca-Cola 600. “I try to give-and-take when I came. The way it works anymore with stage points, especially in the All-Star race, you don’t give and take. You take.”

Starting lineup for the Coca-Cola 600

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William Byron will start first and Aric Almirola will start second for Sunday’s 60th running of the Coca-Cola 600.

Byron, 21, is the youngest pole-sitter in the race’s history.

The top five is completed by defending race winner Kyle Busch, 2017 race winner Austin Dillon and two-time 600 winner Kevin Harvick.

Click here for the starting lineup.

William Byron wins pole for Coca-Cola 600

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CONCORD, N.C. —  William Byron won the pole for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Byron claimed the top spot with a qualifying speed of 183.424 mph. At the age of 21, he’s the youngest Coca-Cola 600 pole-sitter.

It’s Byron’s second career Cup pole, joining his pole in this year’s Daytona 500.

He beat out Aric Almirola (183.069 mph), Kyle Busch (182.933), Austin Dillon (182.766) and Kevin Harvick (182.741).

“This is awesome, a dream come true,” Byron told FS1. “Obviously, I grew up in Charlotte so I came to this race every year. It’s a dream come true to qualify on the pole next to Hendrick Motorsports across the street over there. … Can’t think of a better way to start the weekend.”

Byron has qualified on the front row five time this year and four times in the last seven races.

The pole is the 12th for Hendrick Motorsports in the 600, which leads all teams.

Busch has qualified in the top three for the last three 600s.

Corey LaJoie‘s No. 32 Ford failed pre-qualifying inspection twice, resulting in the ejection of an engineer.

Click here for qualifying results.

Joey Logano and family mourn their dog

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CONCORD, N.C. — Joey Logano provided a sobering update Thursday night about the family’s lost dog, Luigi.

The dog had been missing since Tuesday.

Logano’s wife Brittany wrote on a Facebook post for lost and found pets in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area that the family’s French Bulldog got out of their fence Tuesday night.

“Our little Luigi I believe he’s stolen, I think,” Joey Logano said earlier Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “We can’t really put a match to anything. We put a bunch of signs up and things on social media and we watched the cameras at our house and we see him running around the backyard and then you don’t see him again. Not really sure what happened there.”

“We’ve learned that Frenchies are one of the most stolen dogs around. It’s kind of sad that someone does that. It’s a member of your family. It’s a jerk move. Hopefully, we can figure it out.”