Corey LaJoie

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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.

Gallery: Coca-Cola 600 patriotic paint schemes

Photos by Daniel McFadin
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With Memorial Day weekend here, many NASCAR teams will be racing patriotic paint schemes in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Here’s a look at the unique schemes that will compete in NASCAR’s longest race.

All photos by Daniel McFadin.

Landon Cassill – No. 00 Chevrolet

Brad Keselowski – No. 2 Ford

Ryan Newman – No. 6 Ford

Aric Almirola – No. 10 Ford

Ty Dillon – No. 13 Chevrolet

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – No. 17 Ford

Kyle Busch – No. 18 Toyota

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Martin Truex Jr. – No. 19 Toyota

 (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

William Byron – No. 24 Chevrolet

Corey LaJoie – No. 32 Ford

 

Michael McDowell – No. 34 Ford

Matt Tifft – No. 36 Ford

David Ragan – No. 36 Ford

Ryan Preece – No. 47 Chevrolet

Jimmie Johnson – No. 48 Chevrolet

Cody Ware – No. 51 Ford

Bayley Currey – No. 52 Ford

BJ McLeod – No. 53 Chevrolet

Alex Bowman – No. 88 Chevrolet

Xfinity Series

Michael Annett – No. 1 Chevrolet

Jefferey Earnhardt – No. 18 Toyota

Ryan Sieg – No. 39 Chevrolet

Mike Harmon – No. 74 Chevrolet

Monster Energy Open: Larson, Wallace, Byron, Bowman advance to All-Star Race

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MONSTER ENERGY OPEN UPDATE — CONCLUSION OF RACE:

Kyle Larson dominated the final stage of the Monster Energy Open to advance to tonight’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“I had to be patient,” Larson told Fox Sports 1. “I knew I had a really good car so I didn’t want to put myself in a bad spot and get damage like other guys did in the segments.

“Hopefully, we can give ourselves a good shot and clean up our act in the next hour or so (when the All-Star Race begins).

Click here for full race results.

Larson joins Stage 2 winner Bubba Wallace and Stage 1 winner William Byron in transferring into the All-Star Race. A fourth driver, Alex Bowman, also advances to the All-Star Race by virtue of winning the Fan Vote.

Larson briefly had a challenge by Ty Dillon in the 10-lap final stage, but then pulled away and won uncontested.

Dillon finished second, followed by Bowman, Matt DiBenedetto, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Preece, Paul Menard, David Ragan, Corey LaJoie and Michael McDowell.

The All-Star Race is slated to begin shortly after 8 p.m. ET.

MONSTER ENERGY OPEN UPDATE — END OF STAGE TWO:

Bubba Wallace held off a late charge by Daniel Suarez — sending the latter spinning after colliding — and Kyle Larsen in Stage 2 of the Monster Energy Open to advance to the NASCAR All-Star Race later tonight at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Wallace joins Stage 1 winner William Byron in advancing to the All-Star Race. One final stage remains in the Open.

“This has been tough and I’ve been feeling like a failure for a really long time, I didn’t give a damn out there,” Wallace told Fox Sports 1. “I love Suarez to death but he knows what’s on the line. … We needed this. I needed this.”

Like Stage 1, the scheduled 20-lap Stage 2 went into overtime. Ryan Preece and pole-sitter Daniel Hemric collided with two laps remaining, bringing out the caution.

Stage 2 ultimately went 25 total laps, including five laps of overtime. Kyle Larson finished second, followed by Suarez, Ty Dillon and David Ragan.

Sixth through 10th were Matt DiBenedetto, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Preece, Corey LaJoie and Alex Bowman

One final stage — a 10-lap shootout — remains in the Open. The winner of the final stage will also advance to the All-Star Race. A fourth driver will also advance by winning the Fan Vote.

MONSTER ENERGY OPEN — END OF STAGE 1

William Byron bumped his way into tonight’s NASCAR All-Star Race, bumping and then passing Bubba Wallace in the final turn to take Stage 1 of the Monster Energy Open at Charlotte Motor Speedway and will advance into the NASCAR All-Star Race later tonight.

Due to a caution late in Stage 1 when B.J. McLeod‘s car started smoking heavily, the scheduled 20 laps of Stage 1 went 27 laps. Byron was fourth when the white flag fell on the 24-driver Open field and was able to get by Wallace at the start-finish line to take the checkered flag.

“It was just crazy, the seas just parted for us,” Byron told Fox Sports 1. “It feels awesome to be in the All-Star Race. It’s a huge accomplishment for myself and Chad (crew chief Chad Knaus) has been here a number of times. It feels good.”

Two more stages remain: the 20-lap Stage 2 and the final 10-lap Stage 3 (the race winner). The winners of Stage 2 and the overall race winner will then join Byron in advancing to the All-Star Race.

A fourth driver will transfer to the All-Star Race by virtue of winning the fan vote.

Wallace finished second in Stage 1, followed by Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez and Alex Bowman.

Sixth through 10th were pole-sitter Daniel Hemric, Matt DiBenedetto, Paul Menard, David Ragan and Ryan Preece.

We’ll have the results of Stage 2 and the overall full results of the Open after their completion.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Chase Elliott wins Talladega Cup race

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Chase Elliott won Sunday’s Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway as the race finished under caution because of two wrecks on the last lap.

Elliott led 44 of 188 laps, including the final four laps. He beat Alex Bowman, Ryan Preece, Joey Logano and Daniel Hemric.

The win is the fourth of Elliott’s Cup career and came after a pit road speeding penalty on Lap 13. It’s also the first win for Chevrolet in 2019 and ends Ford’s streak of seven consecutive Talladega victories.

“What a day,” Elliott told Fox Sports. “We just had a plan and executed it really well. Obviously, could have gone both ways. Fortunately, everybody stayed together and stayed the course. Had some help on that last lap with the caution. … This is unbelievable. This is special. This is close to home for me. Kind of feels like a home race.”

Hendrick Motorsports is just the third organization to win this season, joining Team Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing.

Bowman’s runner-up finish is his first top 10 of the season and his best result in 127 career Cup starts.

“There was no plan coming off of Turn 4, but unfortunately we didn’t get there before the caution came out,” Bowman told Fox Sports. “I am glad to kind of turn the season around.  It has been a rough start to the year. These guys deserve way better than the finishes they’ve had.  To come home second, it’s not a win, but (we’re) headed in the right direction.”

The final run was set up by a wreck with seven laps to go that involved Martin Truex Jr., Matt DiBenedetto, Chris Buescher and Justin Haley. Truex was the only one able to continue, and he finished 25th. Haley, making his Cup debut, finished 32nd.

The wreck on the final lap included William Byron, Paul Menard, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Ryan Blaney, David Ragan and Kyle Larson. It ended with Larson sliding toward the inside wall, going airborne, hitting the wall and then flipping multiple times. Larson was able to exit the car under his own power.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Ty Dillon

STAGE 2 WINNER: Chase Elliott

Click here for race results and point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Rookies Ryan Preece (third) and Daniel Hemric (fifth) each earned the best finishes of their career … Ryan Newman finished seventh for his third straight top 10 and his best result of the season … Brendan Gaughan placed eighth for his sixth career top 10 … Corey LaJoie placed 11th, tying his career-best result.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Bubba Wallace, Kevin Harvick, Matt Tifft and Michael McDowell were eliminated via a six-car wreck on Lap 11Jimmie Johnson finished 33rd after he cut a tire on debris and hit the Turn 3 wall on Lap 24 … Denny Hamlin exited the race in Stage 2 with damage from the Lap 11 wreck … Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led 16 laps but finished 25th after he wrecked on the last lap, separate from the incident on the backstretch.

NOTABLE: With a new rules package that includes a tapered spacer and a taller spoiler, there were 37 lead changes, the most at Talladega since May 4, 2014 (48) … Chase Elliott’s four Cup wins account for Hendrick Motorsports’ last four wins overall … Kyle Busch (10th) has finished in the top 10 in every race this season. It’s the first time a driver has top 10s in the first 10 races of the season since Morgan Shepherd in 1990

WHAT’S NEXT: Gander RV 400 at Dover International Speedway at 2 p.m. ET on May 5 on Fox Sports 1

Kevin Harvick wins provisional Cup pole at Richmond

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Kevin Harvick claimed the provisional pole for Saturday’s Cup race at Richmond Raceway.

Harvick claimed the top spot with a speed of 124.298 mph.

The field won’t be finalized until pre-race inspection is complete Saturday. Should Harvick pass inspection, it would be his 27th Cup pole and his second of 2019 (Las Vegas).

Erik Jones qualified second and the top five is completed by Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch.

The top 10 is filled out by Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, Daniel Suarez and Jimmie Johnson.

“We did a great job today, I didn’t think it was a perfect lap from my standpoint, but I was able to get in the throttle on the exit of the corner and put down a decent lap,” Harvick told Fox Sports 1.

While Kyle Larson was second fastest in the first round, he’ll start 14th after he didn’t advance out of the second round.

“Each lap of that first round I was getting tighter in the center and was slowing down,” Larson told Fox Sports 1. “There in the second round I was just too tight in the middle.”

Denny Hamlin will start 18th.

Michael McDowell, Bubba Wallace, Matt DiBenedetto, Corey LaJoie, Ryan Blaney and Ryan Newman were among the drivers who failed to advance out of the first round.

Blaney, who will start 29th, said he fought a lack of grip on the track.

“The race track had no rubber on it from all the rain and we waited to be one of the last cars out,” Blaney told Fox Sports 1. “That really (doesn’t) work out too well.”

Click here for the provisional starting lineup