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Blaney’s 200 mph Lap Puts Him On TMS Pole

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, November 3 2018

Ryan Blaney, left, sped to the Cup Series pole at Texas on Friday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Garry Eller)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

FORT WORTH, Texas – Ryan Blaney recorded the second 200 mph NASCAR Cup Series qualifying lap on a 1.5-mile racetrack Friday evening during time trials for the 14th annual AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Blaney’s lap in 26.932-seconds at 200.505 mph was posted nearly one year after Kurt Busch set the track record at 26.877-seconds/200.915 mph. Blaney earned his first pole in eight starts at TMS, his third pole and 23rd top-10 start of 2018 and fifth pole in 124 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races.

“It felt really fast,” said Blaney, driver of the No. 12 Ford Fusion fielded by Team Penske. “That’s what you get with this night time qualifying _ high speeds. That’s really what you get. That’s cool doing under-the lights-qualifying. Speeds pick up and it has been cool here today.

“We’ve had a really good Ford all day and it’s nice to back it up in qualifying. It doesn’t mean a lot if you’re fastest in practice and blow it in qualifying. It was cool to be solid all day. Really big thanks to this whole group for giving me a really great race car, and I’m excited to see how it is in race trim tomorrow.”

Truth be told, Blaney said he would like to have clocked 201 mph. “I mean, it’s super-fast, that’s a product of it being night time and a little colder outside and a good-handling race car,” Blaney said. “Honestly we go to a lot of tracks now that are pretty close (to 200 mph) like Michigan where you go faster than that. Here it’s super-fast today. It doesn’t really feel like it, you’re just trying your best to hit your line.

“That’s bookin’ in. You won’t see much of that stuff next year, so enjoy it now.” That was a reference to a rules package NASCAR is in the process of testing for the 2019 season.

Round of 8 Playoff contender Clint Bowyer will start second after his lap of 200.230 mph _ good for his 15th top-10 start of the season and 10th in 26 races at “The Great American Speedway.”

“That felt fast,” said Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. “After you come off of Martinsville (flat, half-mile oval), that little short track and head out here to this place, it just feels crazy fast. I’m really proud of my guys. Our Rush Truck Centers Ford was good all day long. I’m proud of all the guys and proud of the shop for bringing four fast (SHR) hot rods again. For the better part of the day we were four of the best six or seven cars. That’s the speed part. Now we have to make them live and be good on the long run. If we can do that, maybe we can keep ourselves in this thing.”

Playoff contender Kevin Harvick, Bowyer’s SHR teammate, will start third after lapping at 199.941 mph in a No. 4 Ford he believes is totally dialed-in. “I don’t think we need to improve anywhere,” Harvick said. “I think everyone on our Mobil 1 Ford did a good job and we have a good starting spot.

“With the new asphalt it really won’t change a whole lot (during the race). It has a ton of grip and you just have to kind of keep your car working good. I think as you go, it’ll be pretty much the same as you go through the afternoon practices.”

Playoff contender Aric Almirola will start fourth after lapping at 199.527 mph in the No. 10 Ford, also fielded by SHR. Playoff contender Kurt Busch, also of SHR, qualified seventh at 199.225 mph in the No. 41 State Water Heaters Fusion.

Sunday’s 334-lap/501-mile race is the middle of three events in the Round of 8. Joey Logano of Team Penske secured his spot in the Championship Four at Homestead-Miami Speedway later this month with his controversial bump-and-run victory over Martin Truex Jr. at the half-mile Martinsville Speedway last Sunday. Logano will start eighth after lapping at 199.086 mph in the No. 22 Ford fielded by Team Penske.

Playoff contender Kyle Busch advanced to the Round of 12 in qualifying and will start 10th after lapping at 198.705 mph in the No. 18 Toyota Camry fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing.

Truex, the reigning Cup champion and Playoff contender based upon points, will start 13th after a lap of 197.109 mph in the No. 78 Toyota fielded by Furniture Row Racing.

Chase Elliott, Chevrolet’s lone Playoff driver, was knocked out in the opening round and will start 16th after a lap at 196.321 mph in the No. 9 Camaro ZL1 fielded by Hendrick Motorsports.

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Ryan Truex spent Friday atop the speed sheet during both Round of 8 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff practices leading into the 14th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at TMS.

Truex toured TMS’ 1.5-mile oval in 28.575-seconds/187.780 mph on his 26th and final lap of the second session to retain P1. Truex led the pack after the first session with a lap in 28.852-seconds and 187.162 mph in the No. 11 Chevrolet Camaro SS.

Truex led a trio of non-Playoff drivers atop the ladder, followed by Brandon Jones at 187.689 mph in the No. 19 Toyota Camry and Shane Lee at 187.676 mph in the No. 3 Camaro SS.

Playoff contenders occupied the next six slots, led by Cole Custer at 187.474 mph in the No. 00 Mustang; Christopher Bell at 187.454 mph in the No. 20 Camry; Daniel Hemric at 187.357 mph in the No. 21 Chevrolet; championship leader Elliott Sadler at 187.084 mph in the No. 1 Camaro; Matt Tifft at 186.903 mph in No. 2  Chevy and Justin Allgaier at 186.812 mph in the No. 7 Camaro.

Further back were Playoff contenders Austin Cindric in 11th at 186.516 mph in the No. 22 Mustang and Tyler Reddick, 14th at 185.912 mph in the No. 9 Chevy.

Xfinity drivers are scheduled to qualify at 1:40 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. The green flag for the 200-lap/300-miler is set for 4:30 p.m. (EDT).

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying – 14th Annual AAA Texas 500

Texas Motor Speedway

Fort Worth, Texas

Friday, November 2, 2018

1. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 200.505 mph.

2. (14) Clint Bowyer (P) @, Ford, 200.230 mph.

3. (4) Kevin Harvick (P) @, Ford, 199.941 mph.

4. (10) Aric Almirola (P) @, Ford, 199.778 mph.

5. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 199.527 mph.

6. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 199.255 mph.

7. (41) Kurt Busch (P) @, Ford, 199.225 mph.

8. (22) Joey Logano (P) @, Ford, 199.086 mph.

9. (24) William Byron #, Chevrolet, 199.071 mph.

10. (18) Kyle Busch (P) @, Toyota, 198.705 mph.

11. (21) Paul Menard, Ford, 197.954 mph.

12. (20) Erik Jones, Toyota, 197.853 mph.

13. (78) Martin Truex Jr. (P) @, Toyota, 197.962 mph.

14. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 197.925 mph.

15. (6) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 197.715 mph.

16. (9) Chase Elliott (P) @, Chevrolet, 197.686 mph.

17. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 197.592 mph.

18. (88) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 197.542 mph.

19. (19) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 197.397 mph.

20. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 197.383 mph.

21. (37) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 197.087 mph.

22. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 196.815 mph.

23. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 196.728 mph.

24. (13) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 196.514 mph.

25. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 196.007 mph.

26. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 195.327 mph.

27. (38) David Ragan, Ford, 195.221 mph.

28. (95) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 194.749 mph.

29. (34) Michael McDowell, Ford, 194.475 mph.

30. (43) Bubba Wallace #, Chevrolet, 194.398 mph.

31. (32) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 192.404 mph.

32. (00) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 191.843 mph.

33. (15) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 191.299 mph.

34. (96) Parker Kligerman(i), Toyota, 191.110 mph.

35. (23) JJ Yeley(i), Toyota, 190.268 mph.

36. (99) Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 189.221 mph.

37. (72) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 188.824 mph.

38. (7) Reed Sorenson(i), Chevrolet, 187.598 mph.

39. (51) Joey Gase(i), Ford, 183.076 mph.

40. (97) David Starr(i), Toyota, 181.305 mph.

1 driver failed to qualify.

41. (66)  Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, 0.000 mph.

 

 

 

 

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| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, November 3 2018
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