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NSCS: Non-Chasers Take Top Starting Spots

Friday, Nov 18 2111

The grid for the final race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is set. Kevin Harvick may have recently been eliminated from the Chase but he is on the pole for the Ford EcoBoost 400 this weekend. It was a lap time of 30.399 seconds and a speed of 177.637 MPH that captured the second pole of the season for the driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet. He also earned the top starting spot a month ago in Charlotte.

Chase Elliott, who was eliminated from championship contention after Talladega, led the first session with a lap time of30.217 seconds, 178.707 MPH. The driver of the No. 24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet also led round two with a time and speed of 30.243 seconds, 178.554 MPH. Elliott will start fifth Sunday afternoon with his third-round effort of 30.492 seconds, 177.096 MPH.

Another non-Chaser, Brad Keselowski finished in the runner –up spot in round one with a 30.412-second run, along with a speed of 177.561 MPH. The driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford and 2012 Sprint Cup champion will start on the front row alongside Harvick after his final qualifying run of 30.416 seconds, 177.538 MPH.  

Ryan Newman ended up third in both the first and third rounds. The driver of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet recorded a lap time and speed of 30.442 seconds, 177.387 MPH in the first session and a 30.470 seconds, 177.223 MPH in the third.

All four Championship 4 contenders advanced out of the first round. Finishing fourth, Joey Logano was the fastest of the four ‘Chasers’ in round one with time of 30.514 seconds, 176.968 MPH. In round two, Carl Edwards was the high finishing championship gunner at fourth with a 30.427-second run, along with a speed of 177.474 MPH. Kyle Busch will start ninth after he nailed down the fastest time and speed of the playoff contenders, 30.689 seconds, 175.959 MPH.

Tony Stewart will make the final start of his NASCAR Sprint Cup career in the 11th spot on the grid. The final qualifying lap time and speed for the driver of the No. 14 Always A Racer/Mobil 1 Chevrolet was 30.861 seconds, 174.978 MPH.

With 41 drivers on the original roster, one was eliminated. It was the No. 30 Feed the Children Chevrolet of Gray Gaulding that failed to make Sunday’s show.

Tune into the Ford EcoBoost 400 Sunday afternoon at 2:30 PM ET. Your local NBC affiliate as well as MRN and Sirius XM Channel 90 will have coverage.


Round 1

1. Chase Elliott
2. Brad Keselowski
3. Ryan Newman
4. (C) Joey Logano
6. (C) Carl Edwards
17. (C) Kyle Busch
22. (C) Jimmie Johnson

Round 2

1. Chase Elliott
2. Ryan Blaney
3. Kevin Harvick
4. (C) Carl Edwards
7. (C) Kyle Busch
13. (C) Joey Logano
14. (C) Jimmie Johnson

Round 3 & Top 10 Starters

1. Kevin Harvick
2. Brad Keselowski
3. Ryan Newman
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Chase Elliott
6. Martin Truex Jr.
7. Matt Kenseth
8. Ryan Blaney
9. (C) Kyle Busch
10. (C) Carl Edwards

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Katie Williams

Coming off the ranch, I didn’t have a motorsports background but my passion was and still is very strong. My first taste of NASCAR came at the age of seven while waiting for music videos to come on the old TNN network. As I grew up, I pursued other interest but eventually rediscovered cars going left when I found the SPEED channel during the 2011-2012 offseason.

I didn’t decide I wanted to pursue a career in NASCAR until the summer of 2012. I’m not a wrench head or strong enough for a pit crew so media was the next best thing. At the beginning of 2013, I started going to races and making connections within the sport. I also studied Motorsports Management at Sports Management Worldwide. Although I love what happens on the track, I’ve always been interested in what goes on behind the scenes and I’ve gotten to know many people throughout the radio, TV and digital media world.

While I’m a long time writer, 2015 was my first year actually covering the sport with . I also became a media correspondent for Raceline. I’ve been able to help the TV show gain recognition on social media. My current goal is to acquire more experience in covering NASCAR and move up the media ladder. Outside of motorsports, I have been an equine-sports statistician for 16 years.

I currently reside in Gillette, WY where I’m still involved with horses. I enjoy riding them, rodeo, swimming, traveling and meeting people.

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