Busch brothers looking forward to some hometown cookin’

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After a literal roll of the dice didn’t pay off for either Kurt or Kyle Busch in Monday’s Daytona 500, they’ll spin the roulette wheel of fortune again this weekend – and in Kyle’s case, several times – in their hometown of Las Vegas.

Kurt finished 33rd at Daytona, being collected in the multi-car wreck on Lap 183. Kyle finished one place lower when the engine on his car expired on the same lap.

Now the brothers Busch return to familiar ground at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – where they both began their racing careers – and look to rebound from their disappointing Daytona showings.

Defending Cup Series champion Kyle Busch isn’t taking anything to chance this weekend, hoping to potentially pull off a three-race weekend sweep.

He’s entered in three races at his home racetrack: tonight’s Super Late Model race at The Bullring adjacent to LVMS, Friday night’s Truck Series race and Sunday’s Cup event.

The younger Busch brother has one Cup win at Las Vegas (2009), but has two wins each there in the Xfinity Series and Truck Series. The last item is of particular note as Busch has raced a truck at his home track just three times in his career, winning each of the last two spring races there.

Friday night’s race will be the first of five Truck races the younger Busch is slated to compete this season.

But he also will be focused on rebounding from Daytona with a win in Sunday’s Cup race. The younger Busch still holds the track record in Las Vegas for youngest winner in a Cup race (2009 – 23 years, nine months, 27 days). He also holds the track record for being the only driver to win a Cup race there from the pole.

Busch also returns to Las Vegas having earned top-five finishes in his last four early-season starts there, including third in last March’s race and runner-up in the 2018 spring race.

“Vegas always means a little bit more pressure – more pressure on myself – just because it’s the hometown and you want to win there,’’ Busch said in a media release. “Thankfully, I have won there, and I’ve knocked that one off the list, but certainly you want to win there every year.

“I love Vegas, the atmosphere and everything going on around that place.”

Kurt Busch hasn’t had quite the success his brother has had at LVMS. In 20 career starts, the 41-year-old Busch has never won a Cup race in front of his home crowd, but he has earned two poles (2010, 2016) and has a best finish of third (2005).

He finished fifth in this race last spring, including leading 23 laps. He’d likely welcome a finish like that – or better – after what happened Monday at Daytona.

“Lady Luck was not on our side,’’ Kurt Busch said of his untimely exit in the 500. “That’s a roulette wheel, people. The roulette wheel spins, and it grabs your number and it grabbed my number. Maybe Vegas will be a little better.”

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Talladega Xfinity starting lineup: Austin Hill wins pole

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — Austin Hill will lead the field to the green flag Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway after scoring his first career Xfinity Series pole.

Hill won the pole Friday with a lap of 182.036 mph. He will be joined on the front row by fellow playoff contender Ty Gibbs (181.981 mph).

MORE: Talladega Xfinity starting lineup

Playoff drivers will start in seven of the top eight spots. The exception is Sheldon Creed, who will start third after a lap of 181.870 mph. Hill and Creed give Richard Childress Racing the first and third starting spots.

Justin Allgaier (181.529) qualified fourth and Brandon Jones (181.305) completed the top five. Noah Gragson, who has won four races in a row, starts sixth after a lap of 181.134 mph and is followed by playoff drivers Josh Berry (181.052) and AJ Allmendinger (180.932).

The Xfinity Series race is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET Saturday on USA Network.

Talladega Truck starting lineup: John Hunter Nemechek wins pole

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — John Hunter Nemechek will start on the pole for Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race.

Nemechek earned the pole with a lap of 178.767 mph.

Nemechek is one of four playoff drivers starting in the top six: Chandler Smith (second, 177.732 mph), Zane Smith (fourth, 177.061) and Ty Majeski (sixth, 176.744). Majeski clinched a spot in next month’s championship race at Phoenix with his Bristol win.

MORE: Talladega Truck starting lineup

Also qualifying in the top five were Carson Hocevar (177.068) in third and Matt Crafton (176.960) in fifth.

Failing to qualify are Tim Viens, Spencer Boyd, Jason White and Natalie Decker.

Saturday Talladega Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather

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The second race of the opening round of the Xfinity playoffs takes drivers to Talladega Superspeedway.

Noah Gragson secured his spot in the next round by winning last weekend at Texas. Ryan Sieg holds the final transfer spot. Riley Herbst is the first driver below the cutline, one point behind Sieg. Also below the cutline are reigning series champion Daniel Hemric (-8 points), Brandon Jones (-12) and Jeremy Clements (-28).

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Talladega Superspeedway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 4:09 p.m. … Green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:21 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 1 p.m. … Driver introductions are at 3:30 p.m. … The invocation will be given at 4 p.m. … The Brookwood High School choir will perform the anthem at 4:02 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 113 laps (300.58 miles) on the 2.66-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 25. Stage 2 ends at Lap 50.

TV/RADIO: USA Network will broadcast the race at 4 p.m. Countdown to Green begins at 3:30 p.m. on USA Network. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. and also will stream at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

STREAMING: NBCsports.com

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Sunny with a high of 78 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Noah Gragson won and was followed by Jeffrey Earnhardt and AJ Allmendinger.

 

Could Talladega open door for a record 20th winner?

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Talladega Superspeedway is known for fast speeds, huge drafting packs, sensational wrecks and tight finishes.

On Sunday (2 p.m. ET on NBC), it could be the site of an unexpected record.

Nineteen different drivers have won Cup races this season, tying a record. If a new winner shows up in Talladega victory lane Sunday, it will mark the first time in the sport’s history that 20 drivers have won races in a single season.

One of the remarkable things about that possibility is that the driver who has far and away the best record at Talladega among active drivers is among the group still looking for a win in 2022. That’s Brad Keselowski, who has won six times at NASCAR’s biggest track. No other active driver has more than three. (Keselowski is tied for second on the all-time Talladega win list with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon. Dale Earnhardt tops that list with 10).

Talladega and Daytona tend to reject repeat winners. The past nine races at the two tracks have been won by nine different drivers.

Other seasonal non-winners who could break through at Talladega:

Ryan BlaneyBlaney’s only win this year is in the All-Star Race, so he’s still looking for his first points win while continuing to chase the championship. He won at Talladega in 2019 and 2020.

Martin Truex Jr. — Superspeedways have been a pox on Truex’s career. In 70 races at Talladega and Daytona, he has failed to win.

Aric Almirola — In what has been a disappointing season, Almirola’s best finish is a fifth — twice. He won at Talladega in 2018 but hasn’t had a top 10 in his last four runs there.

Michael McDowell — McDowell’s best finish at Talladega is a third, but he is usually very competitive in the Talladega and Daytona drafts, winning the 2021 Daytona 500.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Stenhouse won at Talladega in 2017 and usually is a factor in the draft.

Harrison Burton — Burton has had a tough rookie season, but the peculiarities of the Talladega draft should play in his favor. The No. 21 team’s next win will be its 100th.

Justin Haley — Haley has no top-10 runs in five Talladega starts, but he showed potential last week with a third-place finish at Texas.

Corey LaJoie — LaJoie has started nine Cup races at Talladega and has led exactly one lap. His best finish is a seventh.

Noah Gragson — Gragson, the star of this Xfinity season, is in the No. 48 for Hendrick Motorsports with Alex Bowman out because of concussion-like symptoms. In the Talladega draft he could be a threat.