NASCAR Race Weekend Day 2 - Friday Updates
By Lori Vizza
6:30 pm : Day 2 Goodnight - That will do it for today's coverage from the track. Join us again tomorrow for Sprint Cup Series Happy Hour practice, Xfinity Series qualifying and Boyd Gaming 300.
5:45 pm : Kurt Busch Wins Pole with New Track Record - Kurt Busch gave the hometown fans something to cheer about with his consecutive pole of the season and a new track record to boot. Busch's lap was 196.328 mph, more than 1.5 mph quicker that the existing record.
"It was insanely fast," Busch confirmed. "Two poles in a row. This is great.
"Man, I wasn't going to lift for anything. I was giving it all I had. I was overdriving the car and I needed to settle in. Tony Gibson (crew chief) made a great adjustment in that last round. I was hoping to put on a show for the home crowd, get the pole, but now we've got to go to work tomorrow.
Joey Logano joins Busch on the front row for the start of Sunday's Kobat 400 with a 195.851 mph lap.
"I always talk about the guts-to-brain ratio," said Logano. "And this is a track you need more guts than brains to tell yourself to put your foot on the throttle when you really feel like you shouldn’t. It is fun for that reason. We were good in (turns) three and four but not enough to beat Kurt. Another front row starting spot, our third in a row here, but second always stings a little bit."
Rounding out the top five are Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski and Austin Dillon.
5:35 pm : Brad Keselowski Fastest in 2nd Round - Keselowsi was fastest in the second qualifying round and this time the top 10 drivers outpaced the existing track record. 2nd through 5th were Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex, Jr and Matt Kenseth.
The red flag flew with a little less than 7 minutes to go in the session when Carl Edwards crashed into the outside wall. Brian Vickers and Kasey Kahne were on the track when the crash occured. NASCAR decided to throw the flag after Kahne finished his lap but the flag flew before Vickers completed his lap meaning it didn't count. Team owner Tony Stewart was in a spirited conversation with NASCAR officials on pit road about the call but the best NASCAR would do at the time was invite him to the trailer to discuss the situation after qualifying.
Kahne made it into the final round while Vickers failed to crack the top 12 and had to sit it out.
5:15 pm : Kurt Busch Fastest in 1st Round - Kurt Busch was the fastest of six drivers who circled LVMS faster than the existing track record of 194.769 mph set by Jeff Gordon in 2015. Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Brian Vickers, and were second through 6th fastest.
Jamie McMurray had trouble during that round. His car wobbled off turn 4 and slapped the outside wall with the right rear but not hard enough to force an interruption in the qualifying round.
4:50 pm : Sprint Cup Qualifying Underway - The first round of qualifying has just begun. With just 39 entries, everyone will make the field, including Wood Brothers Racing, The Motorsports Group an Premium Motorsports, the three teams on the list not protected by franchise status.
The pole winner gets to lead the field to green on Sunday plus a way cool trophy featuring a (way) scaled down version of the Stratosphere. The trophy version measures in at just a touch under 3 feet, while the real deal is almost 1,150 feet tall.
4:10 pm : Kyle Busch Fastest in Xfinity Practice - The second practice session for the Xfinity teams has just concluded with Kyle Busch leading the field with a 181.348 mph lap. Ty Dillon was second fastest, followed by Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez and Brandon Jones.
We'll set the grid for tomorrow afternoon's Boyd gaming 300 during qualifying tomorrow morning at 9:45 am.
3:15 pm : Cope to Back Up Car - Derrike Cope's team is unloading a backup car after their driver lost control in Turn 4 and pancaked the right side of the car during the second and final Xfinity Series practice session.
Twenty minutes into this 55 minute session has Kyle Busch leading a Joe Gibbs Racing sweep of the top three spots. Busch posted a fast lap of 181.0323 mph and is followed by Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez.
2:20 pm : Xfinity Practice #1 Done - Erik Jones shot to the top of the timing sheet with a 183.094 mph lap in the closing minutes of the session. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Daniel Suarez, was second fastest while Las Vegas' Brendan Gaughan carried the banner for the hometown fans and Richard Childress Racing with a 182.106 mph lap. Brandon Jones and Austin Dillon rounded out the top five.
Brad Keselowski currently holds the Xfinity Series track qualifying record with a 185.427 mph lap completed in 29.122 seconds around the 1.5-mile speedway. With one more practice session to go, the teams still have plenty of time to dial in some more speed and put that record at jeopardy.
2:05 pm : Stewart Injury Update - Tony Stewart is finding it difficult to follow doctor's orders for bed rest while recuperating from a broken back.
"For a month now, I haven't done anything but just kind of chill out," said Stewart. "The doctors want me lying in bed and walking. They don't want me sitting and tanding. I'm definitely breaking the rules...but I can't lay in bed any longer. We did everything short of bubble wrap me to ride out here on the plane. We were as comfortable as can be."
Despite flying against doctor's orders, Stewart is refraining from putting a timetable on his recovery until he finds out more next week.
The truth is, Stewart has no idea where his back is in the recovery process and he won't know for sure until he goes for x-rays next Wednesday. We really don't have any clue how far this has gone since the surgery. I'm probably more eager than anybody to know what the result of this is going to be."
1:15 pm : Xfinity Series Practice Underway - Austin Dillon is the early leader in today's first Xfinity practice. Dillon's fastest lap so far is 181.733 mph. In fact, the top three cars belong to the Richard Childress Racing stable with Brandon Jones and Ty Dillon second and third fastest, respectively. Kyle Busch and Eric Jones round out the top 5 with approximately 45 minutes to go in the session.
1:05 pm : Stewart the Lawn Dart - No, not another installment in the Mobil 1 "Tony's Next Chapter Video Series." What it is though, is the comparison Stewart uses when describing the awkward landing that left him with a broken back.
"I can't even make the story sound cool," said Stewart. "I mean, I got hurt driving five miles an hour. That's hard to make sound cool. I wish I could tell you the story of I was jumping a 50-foot gap running 60 miles an hour and it flipped over and caught on fire and I broke my back, but that's not what happened.
"It's I went over the lip of a dune and went down 20, 25 feet and landed like a lawn dart and broke my back. It's hard to make that sound cool but that's just what it is."
1:00 pm : Stewart the Later Years - Mobil 1 is paying tribute to Tony Stewart's final season as a Cup Series driver with four short digital video and television spots that follow along as Stewart pursues a variety of unusual hobbies to pass the time during retirement.
The series is entitled "Tony's Next Chapter" and features Stewart smoking meat, speaking French, portrait painting and serving as a cheese connoisseur.
"We did all four spots in one day," said Stewart about the spots that also feature teammates Kevin Harvick and Danica Patrick. "I think everybody in racing realizes that us drivers are not very good actors so if you just make it funny it comes off pretty well. We had a good time with it."
12:30 pm : Brad Keselowski Leads Practice Session - Judging by the speeds seen in this morning's practice session, the odds are pretty good that the pole
winner for Sunday's Kobalt 400 will set a new track record.
The fastest three drivers in the session surpassed the current record held by Jeff Gordon. Keselowski was quickestno was with a 195.327 mph lap. Joey Logano was second
fastest at 195.623 mph and Kurth Busch was third at 195.235 mph. Despite his brush with the wall, Paul Menard was fourth on the practice sheet and Brian Vickers,
subbing for the injured Tony Stewart was third.
11:40 am : DC Solar's Mission to Make Pit Road a Greener Place - Chip Ganassi Racing will take a step toward running a greener operation when the No. 48 Xfinity Series team becomes the first on pit road to utilize a solar-powered cool down box generator unit. The unit is 100% silent and requires no fossil fuel.
The unit incorporates technology developed by team sponsor DC Solar. As with many creative endeavors, necessity, and maybe just a little bit of frustration, was the mother of invention, and it all came together in just two weeks.
"Two weeks ago we were on pit road in Datona," explained Jeff Carpoff, CEO of DC Solar. "And I was trying to have a conversation with my driver here and we had noise from all these generators running on pit road and fumes. We were able to find a solution to that by using our patented solar hybrid system."
If the powers that be at DC Solar feel their solar-powered cool-down equipment represents the wave of a greener future throughout NASCAR's national touring series.
"The goal would be to definitely have this on every cool down box in all three series in the future," said Carpoff. "We're working on a financial plan to make this very affordable for the race teams."
According to Carpoff, the tracks provide fertile grounds for environmentally friendly improvements, as well.
"If you look around the track, there's hundreds of light towers that are all running on diesel," he said. "There's lots of generators running concession stands and things like that. Our biggest thing this weekend is our electric car charging stations out in the parking lot. From a cost perspective, we utilize the tax credit programs that make this product very affordable for the tracks to use, and we're working on a strategic plan to place these at every track."
With the car charging stations plus solar powered lighting fixtures outside the track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a leader in the industry's charge to go green.
"It's pretty awesome," said driver, Brennan Poole. "I'm excited about this opportunity. I think there's so many young people that are looking for a way to be greener. You hear the talks even at Oscars from a week ago about the environment and protecting it. It's becoming an issue that younger people are really wanting to be a part of. I think it's really awesome for our sport to be able to show the strides that we're making to make it greener."
11:12 am : Kurt Busch Leading First Practice - Kurt Busch is showing 'em how we do it in Vegas. His No 41 Chevrolet is leading the way with a 194.672 mph lap, which is quite a bit faster than the speeds we saw yesterday during the test sessions. Rounding out the top 5 with approximately 40 minutes to go in this final practice before qualifying is Brad Keselowski, Ryan Newman, Joey Logano and Chase Elliott.
Paul Menard had a close encounter with the outside wall coming off Turn 4, when his car wobbled off the turn and kissed the wall. The damage appears to be cosmetic so minimal harm, no foul.
8:30 am : Welcome to Day 2 - Good morning from the speedway where we're getting ready for a day full of on track action. The Sprint Cup teams will share track team with the
Qualifying to set the field for Sunday's Kobalt 400 atarts at 4:45 pm.
Here's today's schedule:
10:30 am (90 minutes) - Cup Series Practice
12:30 pm (1 hour, 25 minutes) - Xfinity Series Practice
3:00 (55 minutes) - Xfinity Series Practice
4:45 - Cup Series Qualifying
We've also got live music for your listening pleasures. Performances outside the track
in the Fan Engagement Area start at 10 am with Tony Marques Band, Vinyl Vault, Royal
Dixieland Jazz Band, Chris Heers and the Dirt Rich Band and the Scotty Alexander Band.
In the Neon Garage you can check out all the bands listed above plus Master Fiddler
RVer's don't forget to check out the Neon Garage this evening from 6-8 pm for the
Kobalt Kampout RV Appreciation Party.