Getty Images

Jimmie Johnson wins pole for Texas Cup race

Leave a comment

Jimmie Johnson won the pole for Sunday’s Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway, posting a top speed of 188.890 mph in the final round of qualifying Friday night.

It is his 36th career pole and his first since the July 2016 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (95 starts between poles).

Johnson will be joined on the front row by fellow Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron (188.416 mph).

Johnson swept all three rounds of qualifying. It’s the 12th time a driver has swept all three rounds and the second time in 2019.

“It’s been a long couple of years and we still have a long ways to go,” Johnson told Fox Sports 1. “Certainly race day is much more important than Friday. But we’re working so hard. I think we’re a bit guilty of trying too hard and maybe stepping outside of our comfort zone at times and putting setups in the car that just aren’t quite proven yet.”

The top five is completed by Chase Elliott, Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon.

Suarez qualified fourth despite electing to make a lap by himself early in the final round, avoiding the draft of multiple cars.

Ty Dillon qualified a career-best ninth. Bubba Wallace qualified 10th for his first top 10 start on a non-restrictor plate track.

Ryan Blaney, Paul Menard, Michael McDowell, Kyle Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were the first five drivers to not advance to the final round.

Clint Bowyer qualified 25th, failing to advance to the second round. He was the lead car in a group that went out for a late second run. Afterward Bowyer expressed frustration over being impeded on pit road by Ryan Newman.

Earlier this week NASCAR announced new procedures for qualifying, including that a competitor will have their posted qualifying times disallowed from earlier sessions and start at the rear if they block or impede another vehicle from taking off properly.

“Learn from your mistakes,” Bowyer said when asked how qualifying can be improved. “That’s how you get better. Learn from your mistakes. We already had this failure and here we are doing it again. Come on.”

In Round 1, Alex Bowman got loose and smacked the outside wall in Turn 2. He will go to a backup car.

Erik Jones‘ car failed pre-qualifying inspection twice. His car chief, Blake Harris, was ejected for the rest of the weekend. Jones will be docked 15 minutes Saturday in the final practice session.

Click here for qualifying results.

NASCAR Power Rankings: Kevin Harvick still No. 1 after quiet Vegas

Leave a comment

Kevin Harvick didn’t have a flashy night Sunday in Las Vegas, but it didn’t keep him from retaining the No. 1 spot in this week’s NASCAR Power Rankings.

After winning the Bristol night race, Harvick finished in the top 10 in the first two stages in Vegas before placing 10th at race’s end.

Kurt Busch’s win at his home track vaulted him into the top 10 as 12 drivers received votes.

More: Playoff standings after Las Vegas

Here is this week’s NASCAR Power Rankings:

1. Kevin Harvick (Last week No. 1): In the last eight races he’s won three times and finished outside the top 10 only twice.

2. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week No. 5): Placed fourth for his 11th top-five finish in the last 14 races.

3. Alex Bowman (Last week unranked): Finished fifth for his second top five and fifth top-10 finish in the last six races.

4. Denny Hamlin (Last week unranked): Left Vegas with a third-place finish to snap a three-race streak of finishing outside the top 10.

5. Kurt Busch (Last week unranked): Snapped a 46-race winless streak with his victory and advanced to the Round of 8.

6. Kyle Busch (Last week No. 3): Finished sixth after a “dismal” night. He has four consecutive top 10s.

7. Brad Keselowski (Last week No. 5): Finished 13th to give him two finishes outside the top 10 since he won at Richmond.

8. Chase Briscoe (Last week unranked): Opened the Xfinity playoffs with his second consecutive win.

8. Chase Elliott (Last week No. 2): Led 73 laps, but had to settle for a 22nd-place finish in Vegas.

8. Joey Logano (Last week No. 3): Finished 14th for his second straight finish outside the top 10.

Also receiving votes: Erik Jones and Chris Buescher.

NASCAR announces changes to Kansas playoff weekend

Leave a comment

Citing “programming changes,” NASCAR announced shifts in the race dates and start times for its visit next month to Kansas Speedway.

The Xfinity, ARCA and Truck Series races have been shifted, while the Cup race remains at 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 18.

The biggest move is the Truck Series race shifting from Friday night to Saturday afternoon.

Here are the changes.

Friday, Oct. 16, 8:30 p.m. ETARCA Menards Series on FS1 or FS2; network TBD at a later date (previously at 10 p.m. ET)

Saturday, Oct. 17, 4 p.m. ETTruck Series on FOX (previously Friday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. ET on FS1)

Saturday, Oct. 17, 7 p.m. ET Xfinity on NBCSN (previously 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN)

 

Xfinity Series playoff standings after Las Vegas

Leave a comment

Chase Briscoe opened the Xfinity Series playoffs by earning his second consecutive win.

His victory Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway gives him 57 playoff points and an automatic spot in the Round of 8.

Harrison Burton holds the final transfer spot. He has a two-point advantage over Ross Chastain.

Behind Chastain below the cutline are Michael Annett (-10 points), Riley Herbst (-14) and Brandon Brown (-20).

Below is the full Xfinity Series playoff standings going into Saturday’s race at Talladega (4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Drivers in red are below the cutline to advance. Drivers in yellow are in the remaining playoff spots.

Xfinity Series playoff standings

Cup playoff standings after Las Vegas

Leave a comment

Kurt Busch flipped the script on the Cup playoff standings with his win Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

He entered the Round of 12 as the last driver in the playoff standings, but is the first driver to clinch a spot in the Round of 8.

Replacing Busch in the bottom spot of the playoff standings is Austin Dillon. He is 32 points behind Alex Bowman, who holds the final cutoff spot.

Behind Bowman is Kyle Busch (-9 points), Clint Bowyer (-20), Aric Almirola (-27) and Dillon.

“Obviously, the 1 car (Kurt Busch) was not a car that we needed to win a race,” Clint Bowyer said after Sunday’s race. “It’s been a hell of a battle back there with cars that are kind of in the same wheelhouse as far as points-wise. (Kurt Busch) winning changes that landscape quite a bit, but we’re only 20 points out.”

Here is the full playoff standings entering Sunday’s playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET on NBC).

Drivers in red are below the cutline to advance to the Round of 8. Drivers in yellow hold the remaining available playoff spots.

Cup playoff standings