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Kevin Harvick wins second Southern 500 pole

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Kevin Harvick won the pole for Sunday’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. It will be the third time he’s started from the pole at the track “Too Tough to Tame.”

Harvick won from the pole in 2014 and finished second last year after starting from the pole. Qualifying in 2016 was canceled due to rain from a hurricane and doesn’t count as an official pole for him.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver claimed the top spot with a speed of 177.730 mph. He will be joined on the front row by Martin Truex Jr. (177.077 mph).

“I thought I had I given some (time) up the second round through (Turns) 3 and 4, that seemed to be our strong corner,” Harvick told NBCSN. “I knew if I could just not get it into the corner in the wrong spot that I had a little bit to get there.”

The pole is Harvick’s 21st in the Cup Series and his fourth of the season.

“This has been a really good race track for us,” Harvick said. “We’ve obviously had a big gap of learning since we switched to Ford. A lot of things have been different. We’ve had to do a lot of things different and our workload has been pretty heavy. Really proud of everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing for everything that they’ve done.”

Truex made his best qualifying effort at Darlington. His previous best was fifth in 2013.

Completing the top five is Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray.

Larson had not qualified better than 16th in his first three Southern 500 starts.

Austin Dillon qualified 13th, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

All four Hendrick Motorsports cars will start outside the top 15.

Jimmie Johnson qualified 18th and Chase Elliott qualified 20th.

In his final start at Darlington, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will roll off 22nd, followed by Kasey Kahne.

Ty Dillon will start 25th, followed by David Ragan and Chris Buescher.

Danica Patrick will start 33rd.

Click here for qualifying results.

Driver-to-Driver with Jimmie Johnson: ‘I’ve got a lot to prove still’

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Jimmie Johnson is in his 17th year of full-time Cup racing and is in the midst the longest winless streak of his career at 42 races.

But the seven-time champion’s competitive drive is as strong as ever.

Johnson sat down with NBC Sports’ Dale Jarrett to discuss his career at this point in the latest edition of Driver-to-Driver.

“I can honestly say I spend more time now than I did my rookie year focusing on my job,” Johnson said. “I think that the support I have from my wife (Chandra), my kids are 7 and 4, to have them watch me be passionate about something has another meaning I didn’t anticipate coming. I’m lovin’ what I’m doing. I wish the results were a little better than what we have right now, but the process of what I’m going through is really fun.”

Hendrick Motorsports as a whole is in a slump. The team is in the middle of the second longest winless streak in its history at 35 races.

Johnson admits it’s hard to know when the right time will be for him to retire.

“The thing I can pull out of it is, don’t pick a number, make sure that fire’s gone out and that fire hasn’t gone out,” Johnson said. “The other thing that’s weighing on me, I don’t want to go out not at my fullest potential and not on my terms. The last thought that’s going to run through my mind is to walk away or, ‘Oh, it’s not going right, time to stop.’ Uh uh. I know I still got it. I’m going to go down swinging. I’ve got a lot to prove still.”

Watch the above video for more.


New Hampshire Cup race underway after rain delay

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The Foxwoods Resort & Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is underway after a three hour and 24 minute rain delay.

The race had been scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET. The green flag waved at 4:24 p.m. ET

Kurt Busch started from the pole and Martin Truex Jr. started second.

Staff picks for today’s Cup race at New Hampshire

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Here’s a look at who the NBC Sports staff is picking to win today’s Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Nate Ryan

Denny Hamlin. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver rediscovers his magic here and locks into the playoffs.

Dustin Long

Martin Truex Jr. wins back-to-back races for the first time in his career.

Daniel McFadin

Kevin Harvick earns a career-best sixth win of the season.

Dan Beaver

Martin Truex Jr. is getting into the same groove he had last year. This week he catches Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. Next week, he starts to pull away,

Today’s Cup race at New Hampshire: Start time, lineup and more

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The Cup Series holds its only race of the year at New Hampshire Motor Speedway today with the Foxwoods Resort & Casino 301.

Kurt Busch starts on the pole and Martin Truex Jr. starts second.

Here’s all the info you need for today’s race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given by Jean Swift, treasurer of Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Counsel, at 12:51 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 1 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 301 laps (318.46 miles) around the 1.058-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 75. Stage 2 ends on Lap 150.


PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 7:30 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 11 a.m. Driver introductions are at 12:05 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Vanessa Salvucci will perform the anthem at 12:45 p.m. The Canadian National Anthem will be performed by Kirk Young at 12:42 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race beginning at 1 p.m. Coverage begins at noon with Countdown to Green on NBCSN. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at noon p.m. and also can be heard at SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: calls for a high of 70 degrees and a 78 percent chance of rain and storms at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Denny Hamlin won this race last year over Kyle Larson. Kyle Busch won the playoff race over Larson.

TO THE REAR: Landon Cassill (backup) and Michael McDowell (backup).

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the complete starting lineup.