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Arizona Driver Alex Bowman On Pole In Phoenix

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, November 12 2016
The No. 88 Chevy is on the pole in Phoenix – but with Alex Bowman at the wheel and not Dale Earnhardt Jr. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Garry Eller)

The No. 88 Chevy is on the pole in Phoenix – but with Alex Bowman at the wheel and not Dale Earnhardt Jr. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Garry Eller)

Alex Bowman, who is substitute driving for injured Dale Earnhardt Jr., won the pole for Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.

The race at PIR will set the field for the season-ending Championship 4 in the Chase for the sprint-logo-08NASCAR Sprint Cup. Two of the four berths in the finals have already been clinched – by Jimmie Johnson, who won at Martinsville two weeks ago, and by Edward Edwards, who won at Texas last weekend.

Bowman, ineligible to advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend, laid down a top qualifying lap in 25.619 seconds (140.521 mph) to win the pole at PIR.

It was the first pole of his Cup career.

“Man, it’s amazing,” said the 23-year-old from nearby Tucson. “We weren’t really that strong in qualifying trim in practice (earlier on Friday). I don’t really know where that came from, but I just can’t thank everybody at Hendrick Motorsports enough.

“To do this in Phoenix, so close to home, means so much to me. We have had such fast race cars. We haven’t had an ounce of luck, but to get a pole here means a lot.”

Fellow non-Chaser Kyle Larson qualified second fastest Friday.

Chase Elliott, Bowman’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate qualified third at 140.236 mph. The best of the Chase drivers were Joey Logano in fourth (140.138 mph), Denny Hamlin in fifth (140.072 mph) and Kevin Harvick in sixth (139.980 mph). The remaining Chase drivers qualified as follows: Matt Kenseth, 10th; Carl Edwards, 11th; Kurt Busch, 12th; Jimmie Johnson, 17th and Kyle Busch, 19th.

Logano was not satisfied with his qualifying position.

“No, it’s not first, right?” said Logano, who is tied for third in the Chase standings with Kyle Busch. “We had a fast Shell Pennzoil Ford again in qualifying and didn’t get the pole. That part is frustrating. The good part is we are fourth and not that far back, and the outside lane is usually a good place to be here at Phoenix on the restarts.

“Usually the leader takes the outside, and that works out pretty well. Overall, we should get a decent pit stall and be able to race toward the front. I’m frustrated because I am not first, which I guess is a good thing – but it kind of stinks.”

Earnhardt, who watched from pit road, was elated at the success of his relief driver.

“This is his hometown, kind of, so it’s awesome that all his friends are around to see him do this,” Earnhardt said. “This is great for his career. This is exactly what we were hoping to happen for him. Hopefully, he can put it together on Sunday.”

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 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying – Can-Am 500

Phoenix International Raceway

Avondale, Arizona

Friday, November 11, 2016

  1. (88)  Alex Bowman(i), Chevrolet, 140.521 mph.
  2. (42)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 140.263 mph.
  3. (24)  Chase Elliott #, Chevrolet, 140.236 mph.
  4. (22)  Joey Logano (C), Ford, 140.138 mph.
  5. (11)  Denny Hamlin (C), Toyota, 140.072 mph.
  6. (4)  Kevin Harvick (C), Chevrolet, 139.980 mph.
  7. (3)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 139.708 mph.
  8. (21)  Ryan Blaney #, Ford, 139.638 mph.
  9. (1)  Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 139.486 mph.
  10. (20)  Matt Kenseth (C), Toyota, 139.427 mph.
  11. (19)  Carl Edwards (C), Toyota, 139.303 mph.
  12. (41)  Kurt Busch (C), Chevrolet, 139.179 mph.
  13. (5)  Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 139.249 mph.
  14. (2)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 139.238 mph.
  15. (31)  Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 139.222 mph.
  16. (10)  Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 139.217 mph.
  17. (48)  Jimmie Johnson (C), Chevrolet, 139.190 mph.
  18. (47)  AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 138.969 mph.
  19. (18)  Kyle Busch (C), Toyota, 138.878 mph.
  20. (27)  Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 138.723 mph.
  21. (17)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 138.696 mph.
  22. (13)  Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 138.122 mph.
  23. (6)  Trevor Bayne, Ford, 137.836 mph.
  24. (16)  Greg Biffle, Ford, 137.431 mph.
  25. (14)  Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 137.825 mph.
  26. (95)  Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 137.641 mph.
  27. (43)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 137.636 mph.
  28. (38)  Landon Cassill, Ford, 137.169 mph.
  29. (7)  Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 136.965 mph.
  30. (34)  Chris Buescher #, Ford, 136.898 mph.
  31. (23)  David Ragan, Toyota, 136.457 mph.
  32. (83)  Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 136.322 mph.
  33. (44)  Brian Scott #, Ford, 136.157 mph.
  34. (15)  Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 136.132 mph.
  35. (32)  Jeffrey Earnhardt #, Ford, 135.298 mph.
  36. (46)  Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 135.191 mph.
  37. (30)  Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, 134.837 mph.
  38. (98)  Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 132.949 mph.
  39. (55)  DJ Kennington(i), Chevrolet, 132.616 mph.
  40. (78)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 0.000 mph.
| , RacinToday.com Saturday, November 12 2016
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