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Brad Keselowski wins Xfinity pole at Charlotte

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CONCORD, N.C. — Brad Keselowski will start first in today’s Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway after claiming his first pole since November 2016 at Texas.

The Team Penske driver posted a top speed of 184.382 mph. It’s his 21st career pole and the first pole for Keselowski and Penske at the track.

Keselowski will be joined on the front row by Cole Custer. It his Custer’s third front row start this season.

The top five is completed by Kyle Busch, Tyler Reddick and Brandon Jones.

It’s Reddick’s best qualifying effort of the season.

Kaz Grala, making the first series start for Fury Race Cars, qualified 16th. Though he competed in the first 10 races of the season with JGL Racing, FRC does not have any owner points and would have missed the race if qualifying had been rained out.

In his fifth start of the year, Timmy Hill will start 24th after advancing to the second round for the first time this season.

Ryan Reed did not make a qualifying attempt after his No. 16 Ford failed inspection three times. He will start from the rear. His car chief, Daniel Bormann, has been ejected from the race. Reed will serve a 30 minute practice hold next week at Pocono.

The cars of Chad Finchum, Mike Harmon and Morgan Shepherd failed to qualify.

The Alsco 300 is set to begin at 1:13 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

Click here for qualifying results.

Cup team’s debut stirs debate on value of smaller part-time teams

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The entry of NY Racing for this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 has stirred talk about the value of smaller teams unable to compete a full season in Cup after a comment from the chairman of the Race Team Alliance.

NY Racing is entered in its first Cup race of the year. JJ Yeley is the driver. The team announced Tuesday a multi-year deal with Steakhouse Elite as sponsor. The team is owned by John Cohen, whose previous Cup teams ran 16 races between 2012-15. His team’s best finish was 32nd in the 2015 Daytona 500 with Reed Sorenson. His teams also failed to qualify for seven races and withdrew five times.

The entry of NY Racing means one car will fail to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600. The five teams going for the four spots available for non-charter teams are those of BJ McLeod (No. 52, Rick Ware Racing), Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 55 Premium Motorsports), Timmy Hill (No. 66, Motorsports Business Management), Parker Kligerman (No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing) and Yeley.

NY Racing’s entry drew the ire of Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing and chairman of the Race Team Alliance. Kauffman tweeted about NY Racing’s entry and then responded to a few who questioned him.

Kauffman’s tweet drew a response from Xfinity driver Tommy Joe Martins, who has been vocal about the importance of smaller teams in NASCAR’s national series and the need to raise the profiles of such teams. Martins responded to Kauffman’s comments with a series of tweets.

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NASCAR executive: Teams not getting through inspection ‘frustrating’

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Steve O’Donnell, executive vice president and chief racing development officer for NASCAR, called the pattern of teams not getting cars through inspection “frustrating” for the sanctioning body.

Appearing on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” Monday morning, O’Donnell addressed the issue after a weekend where six teams were unable to make qualifying attempts for the Cup race at Kansas Speedway due to not passing inspection in time.

Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer, Matt DiBenedetto, Kasey Kahne, Timmy Hill and Michael McDowell did not make qualifying attempts and started from the rear of the field.

The teams of Jimmie Johnson and Jamie McMurray had to scramble to get their cars on the track with less than two minutes left in Round 1.

“It’s really a frustrating topic for us,” O’Donnell said. “You’ve heard me come on and say we’ve got the most talented engineers in the world working on the race cars and we believe that. And it’s certainly frustrating because it is on the teams to present their cars for inspection.”

O’Donnell compared the inspection issue to a hypothetical scenario in baseball.

“It’s become really the equivalent of a Kris Bryant (Chicago Cubs third baseman) coming to the plate with a bat you can’t use,” O’Donnell said. “The umpire says ‘you can’t use that,’ comes back with a bat you can’t use, the umpire says it again and then the third time says ‘you can’t make your plate appearance.’ Then the batter runs to the media and says, ‘I can’t believe they did this.’ At some point it’s frustrating on our end and at some point we’ve got to get the teams to be able to show up and get through tech inspection. It’s the same every week and it’s one of those things that most teams are able to do it.”

O’Donnell said NASCAR needs to “streamline” the process “somehow” and work with teams to ensure “we’re getting everybody out there, that’s what the fans pay to see and that’s what we collectively should want to do as an industry.”

Two weeks ago at Dover, pole-sitter Kyle Larson was one of three drivers who had to start from the rear for issues in pre-race inspection. The car chiefs for Larson and Alex Bowman were ejected from the event for their cars failing inspection three times.

O’Donnell was asked if NASCAR could increase penalties to further deter teams from going over the line.

“We feel like we’ve done that. It hasn’t seemed to work,” O’Donnell said. “I think we’ll go back and just look at it collectively and continue to focus on the teams that are doing it right and really make that be the narrative and continue to do so. Where we can make an adjustment we certainly will. Last thing we want to do you know is penalize any team. We don’t want that to be the narrative. We want the narrative to be around the race product.”

Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer and four others don’t make qualifying runs at Kansas

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Six Cup teams failed to get their cars through qualifying inspection Friday at Kansas Speedway.

As a result, Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer, Matt DiBenedetto, Kasey KahneTimmy Hill and Michael McDowell did not make qualifying attempts. They will start from the rear of Saturday’s race.

It’s a rough start to Kenseth’s return to Cup racing with Roush Fenway Racing. He makes his first start of the year tomorrow night.

Bowyer’s problems come after a penalty from last week at Dover resulted in a two-race suspension for his car chief.

“We’re stuck back there in jail,” Bowyer told Fox Sports 1. “Pretty bad taste in my mouth right now. It’s hard not to go off because it’s frustrating. You’re sitting there watching the guys. The body was off, they made some adjustments and went back through and then the chassis is off.”

Kevin Harvick wins Cup pole at Kansas Speedway

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Kevin Harvick will start first in Saturday’s Cup race at Kansas Speedway after earning his second pole of the year.

He won the pole with a speed of 188.811 mph. It’s a career-best fourth pole for Harvick at the 1.5-mile track.

Harvick, who won last week at Dover, will be joined on the front row by Ryan Blaney (187.826 mph).

The top five is completed by Kyle Busch, Aric Almirola and Brad Keselowski.

Almirola’s starting spot is his best of the year.

Jimmie Johnson will start 23rd and Jamie McMurray will start 24th after neither made a lap in Round 2. Fox Sports 1 reported Johnson wasn’t comfortable with his car in the first round and didn’t want to risk making any more laps.

McMurray’s team couldn’t get his car to start for the second round.

That was after Johnson and McMurray’s teams scrambled to get their cars on the track after having to go through inspection multiple times.

“We intended on running again, but for some reason the engine wouldn’t start,” McMurray said. “The starter would only spin it over for like one revolution and then the starter would disengage.  We really tried hard to get it to start and just couldn’t ever get it to fire again. We will start wherever we are at there and yeah, nothing we could do about it.”

Kyle Larson spun in Turn 4 in Round 2. If the team changes tires on the No. 42 Chevrolet, that would force Larson to start from the rear. It would also be the second consecutive race Larson has had to start from the rear.

Six drivers did not make a qualifying attempt after their cars failed to get through inspection in time. That includes Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth, Matt DiBenedetto, Kasey Kahne, Timmy Hill and Michael McDowell

They will all start from the rear of Saturday’s race.

“We’re stuck back there in jail,” Bowyer told FS1. “Pretty bad taste in my mouth right now. It’s hard not to go off because it’s frustrating. You’re sitting there watching the guys. The body was off, they made some adjustments and went back through and then the chassis is off.”

Click here for qualifying results.