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NASCAR: Tony Stewart knocks Brad Keselowski from Duck Commander 500 pole

Tony Stewart wins the pole at Texas

Nothing like a little drama from Tony Stewart.

Stewart waited until the very last moments of the final round of Saturday’s Sprint Cup Series knockout qualifying session before making his last run and succeeded in knocking Brad Keselowski from the pole for Sunday’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Stewart’s average lap speed of 195.454 mph barely edged Keselowski (195.419 mph). The pole is Stewart’s first of the season and first in the series since the 2012 Atlanta race – a stretch of 39 races.

“The first run I knew I didn’t run a very good lap, and then the second run really wasn’t much different than that but we knew we had a heat cycle on the tires. This thing is fast,” Stewart said of his No. 14 Chevrolet.

“It was good in the first run, and in the second run it was pretty good and we were second and we ran a little bit quicker. We didn’t know what we could run this third time. The good thing is Chad Johnston (crew chief) made a really big change there to try and make it better.”

Kevin Harvick will start third, Greg Biffle fourth and Carl Edwards fifth. Series points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. will line up 19th. Harvick actually set a new track qualifying record in the first round of qualifying with an average lap speed of 198.282 mph.

JR Motorsports class of the field:Six races into the Nationwide Series season, JR Motorsports has proven to be the organization to beat.

JRM drivers Chase Elliott and Regan Smith currently hold the top two spots in the series standings and both already have a win this season. JRM has never won a series championship.

The organization entered four cars in Friday night’s Nationwide race at Texas and its drivers finished first, fourth, fifth and seventh.

“We want to win a championship so bad this year. We feel like we learned a lot last year going through that process with Regan and now we have two teams that are really capable of getting the job done,” said team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“If everybody keeps their head on straight, we should be able to be in a good situation when we get to Homestead.”

Dillon misses some Cup practice:Cup rookie Austin Dillon missed some of Saturday’s lone practice session after falling ill. His brother, Ty Dillon, ran some laps in Austin’s No. 3 Chevrolet as a precaution but Austin did qualify his car for the race.

Three things to watch

1. Kurt Busch won last weekend at Martinsville, Va., wrecked his primary car in practice on Friday but was fastest in Saturday’s practice session in his backup car and will start 11th.

2. So far this season, there have been six different winners in the first six races and all six are former champions in either the Nationwide or Truck series.

3. Kyle Busch has led 9,960 laps in his Cup series career – 40 away from becoming the 15th driver in NASCAR history to accomplish the feat.

Observations







Best bets

Three picks for your fantasy racing team:

Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Tony Stewart

Race facts

Where: Texas Motor Speedway, Forth Worth, Texas

Track type: 1.5-mile paved, banked quad-oval

Race distance: 334 laps or 501 miles

Weather: An 80 percent chance of rain with high in the upper 50s.

TV: Coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET on Fox. Green flag is 3:13 p.m.

Radio: Performance Racing Network

JR Motorsports class of the field:Six races into the Nationwide Series season, JR Motorsports has proven to be the organization to beat.

JRM drivers Chase Elliott and Regan Smith currently hold the top two spots in the series standings and both already have a win this season. JRM has never won a series championship.

The organization entered four cars in Friday night’s Nationwide race at Texas and its drivers finished first, fourth, fifth and seventh.

“We want to win a championship so bad this year. We feel like we learned a lot last year going through that process with Regan and now we have two teams that are really capable of getting the job done,” said team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“If everybody keeps their head on straight, we should be able to be in a good situation when we get to Homestead.”

Dillon misses some Cup practice:Cup rookie Austin Dillon missed some of Saturday’s lone practice session after falling ill. His brother, Ty Dillon, ran some laps in Austin’s No. 3 Chevrolet as a precaution but Austin did qualify his car for the race.

Three things to watch

1. Kurt Busch won last weekend at Martinsville, Va., wrecked his primary car in practice on Friday but was fastest in Saturday’s practice session in his backup car and will start 11th.

2. So far this season, there have been six different winners in the first six races and all six are former champions in either the Nationwide or Truck series.

3. Kyle Busch has led 9,960 laps in his Cup series career – 40 away from becoming the 15th driver in NASCAR history to accomplish the feat.

Observations







Best bets

Three picks for your fantasy racing team:

Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Tony Stewart

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