Veteran Cup champs fall short again of first Daytona 500 win


Brad Keselowski was so close.

So close to earning the win that would make his otherwise superlative resume bulletproof.

So close to making the ultimate statement after joining Roush Fenway Racing – make that Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing – and achieving his ambition of team ownership.

But as he knows all too well, close doesn’t count at the Daytona 500.

MORE: Daytona 500 race results, driver points

MORE: What drivers said after Daytona 500

As the final lap of overtime unfolded Sunday, Keselowski was among the contenders, leading the top line of cars.

But even with a push from behind by Chase Briscoe, Keselowski couldn’t quite pull up alongside leader Austin Cindric – the rookie in the No. 2 Team Penske ride he used to drive.

Then, entering Turn 3, Briscoe slipped off the bumper of Keselowski’s No. 6 RFK Racing Ford. Keselowski, robbed of the energy he needed, could only play defense from there.

It didn’t go well. He shuffled backwards in the middle lane, crossed the line ninth, and was promptly involved in a crash – while Cindric held off Ryan Blaney and then Bubba Wallace to win in his second Daytona 500 start.

Keselowski, the 2012 NASCAR Cup Series champion, has 35 career victories. But he’s now 0-for-13 in the race that matters most.

“I thought down the backstretch, we were gonna win the race and just (Blaney) and (Cindric) got a really good push from (Wallace) and basically cleared our lane and then our lane kind of broke up there at the end,” Keselowski said.

“It was really close, just green-white-checkers.”

So ended a dramatic day that also saw Keselowski involved in two other crashes.

On Lap 63, Keselowski’s push of Harrison Burton went awry and set off a multi-car incident that had Burton briefly turned upside down on the backstretch. Later, off the restart at Lap 195, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun off the nose of Keselowski’s car and hit the wall in the tri-oval.

Keselowski expressed remorse over both incidents. When asked if he had been overly aggressive, he noted: “Whenever somebody spins out, obviously, there’s somebody over aggressive, but in the moment, I didn’t.”

He wasn’t the only veteran Cup champion to fall short Sunday despite best efforts.

Kyle Busch finished sixth, leaving him winless in 17 Daytona 500 starts. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Martin Truex Jr., finished 13th, which leaves him winless in 18 Daytona 500 starts.

Truex won both stages Sunday, continuing a theme this weekend at Daytona. In all three NASCAR national series races, a single driver swept the stages.

In Friday’s Truck Series race, it was John Hunter Nemechek. But he was swept up in a massive crash at the white flag and finished 24th.

In Saturday’s Xfinity Series race, it was Daniel Hemric. But he took damage in a restart crash and was relegated to a 28th-place finish.

Truex also had some bad luck Sunday.

On Lap 151, Tyler Reddick lost control of Turn 4 to set off a five-car crash. Truex escaped it, but was not unscathed, taking right-front damage to his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

The 2017 Cup champion was a non-factor for the remainder of the race, but he at least secured a healthy points haul with his stage wins. He goes to next week’s race at Auto Club Speedway third in the regular season standings behind Cindric and Keselowski.

As for Busch, he and his No. 18 team had to rally after their Toyota took damage in the aforementioned Stage 1 wreck.

But while he didn’t end up in Victory Lane, Busch said he was still “pleased” with salvaging a sixth-place finish despite a heavily taped up race car.

“(The damage) definitely slowed us down a little bit,” he added. “Any time you get damage, it’s not optimum, but otherwise we were able to hang in the draft well and race around some of the other guys that were fast.

“But there were definitely guys that were faster than us and they were noticeable.”

NASCAR Saturday schedule at WWT Raceway, Portland


Saturday is a busy day for NASCAR. The Cup and Craftsman Truck Series are at World Wide Technology Raceway. The Xfinity Series is at Portland International Raceway.

Cup teams will practice and qualify ahead of Saturday’s Truck race at WWT Raceway. The Xfinity Series has practice, qualifying and its race Saturday at Portland.

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Cup and Trucks)


Saturday: Sunny. Temperatures will be around 80 degrees for the start of Cup practice and climb to 89 degrees by the end of Cup qualifying. Forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 92 degrees around the start of the Truck race.

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  — Cup Series
  • 10:30 a.m. — Truck Series

Track activity

  • 10 – 10:45 a.m. — Cup practice (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Cup qualifying  (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 1:30 p.m. — Truck race (160 laps, 200 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Portland International Raceway (Xfinity Series)


Saturday: Mostly sunny with a high of 74 degrees and no chance of rain around the start of the Xfinity race.

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 10 a.m.  — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Xfinity practice (No TV)
  • 12 – 1 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying (FS1)
  • 4:30 p.m. — Xfinity race (75 laps, 147.75 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Truck starting lineup at WWT Raceway: Ty Majeski wins pole


Ty Majeski will lead the Craftsman Truck starting lineup to the green flag Saturday at World Wide Technology Raceway after winning the pole Friday night.

Majeski claimed his fourth career series pole and first of the season with a lap of 138.168 mph around the 1.25-mile speedway.

MORE: Truck starting lineup at WWT Raceway

Ben Rhodes, who won last week at Charlotte, qualified second with a lap of 137.771 mph. He was followed by Christian Eckes (137.716 mph), Carson Hocevar (137.057) and Stewart Friesen (137.007).

The series races at 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1.

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


There have been different winners in each of the last nine Xfinity Series races this season. Will the streak continue Saturday at Portland International Raceway?

Those nine different winners have been: Sammy Smith (Phoenix), Austin Hill (Atlanta), AJ Allmendinger (Circuit of the Americas), Chandler Smith (Richmond), John Hunter Nemechek (Martinsville), Jeb Burton (Talladega), Ryan Truex (Dover), Kyle Larson (Darlington) and Justin Allgaier (Charlotte).

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Portland International Raceway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 4:38 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:46 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 10 a.m. … Practice begins at 11:30 a.m. … Qualifying begins at 12 p.m. … Driver introductions begin at 4:15 p.m. … The invocation will be given by Donnie Floyd of Motor Racing Outreach at 4:30 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed at 4:31 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 75 laps (147.75 miles) on the 1.97-mile road course.

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

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying begins at 12 p.m. Saturday

TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race at 4:30 p.m. ... Coverage begins at 4 p.m. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 4 p.m. and can be heard on … SiriusXN NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Sunny with a high of 73 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: AJ Allmendinger won last year’s inaugural Xfinity race at Portland by 2.8 seconds. Myatt Snider finished second. Austin Hill placed third.

NASCAR Friday schedule at WWT Raceway, Portland


Craftsman Truck Series teams will be on track Friday at World Wide Technology Raceway to prepare for Saturday’s race. Cup teams will go through inspection before getting on track Saturday.

Xfinity Series teams will go through inspection Friday in preparation for their race Saturday at Portland International Raceway.

Here is Friday’s schedule:

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Cup and Trucks)


Friday: Partly cloudy with a high in the low 90s.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 1 – 8 p.m. Craftsman Truck Series
  • 4 – 9 p.m. Cup Series

Track activity

  • 6 – 6:30 p.m. — Truck practice (FS1)
  • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. — Truck qualifying (FS1)

Portland International Raceway (Xfinity Series)

Weekend weather

Friday: Mostly sunny with a high of 77 degrees.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 6-11 p.m. Xfinity Series (no track activity on Friday)