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NASCAR Cup: Ryan Blaney on pole at ISM Raceway after fight breaks out

during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway on March 8, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona.

By AMANDA VINCENT

Ryan Blaney posted a 25.48-second/141.287 mph lap in the third of three rounds of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at ISM Raceway near Phoenix on Friday to claim the pole for Sunday’s Ticket Guardian 500. It was Blaney’s sixth-career pole, his second in seven attempts at ISM Raceway.

The aero package for ISM Raceway includes the larger spoilers and splitters that were on cars the previous two race weekends at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, but engines have the familiar 750 hp instead of the power reduction of Atlanta and Vegas, and the aero ducts that were present at Las Vegas are absent at ISM.

“It’s a pretty decent amount different,” Blaney said. “You can feel it. You can feel the taller spoiler, bigger splitter; you can really feel that, especially turn one and two, since it’s really flat. I feel like you can get in there a little bit faster, roll a lot faster, get back to the throttle sooner. Three and four are pretty similar. Maybe your on-throttle point is a little bit faster, but one and two you really get the difference just because it’s so flat, and you’re rolling off-throttle off-brake there for so long. You can feel the speed difference. I don’t know how much faster we were – three or four-tenths faster than last year qualifying – and you can definitely feel it. It took a run or two to kind of get used to in practice how far you could push it, so, yeah, it’s interesting to overlay driver inputs from last year to this year just to see how much less brake you’re using, how much more throttle on time it is.”

All three manufacturers were represented in the top-three at the end of qualifying, with Chevrolet driver Chase Elliott joining Blaney’s Ford on the front row. and Denny Hamlin’s Toyota qualifying third.

“I hate qualifying second,” Elliott said. “We’ve qualified second out here last fall and, then, this one. But I guess he isn’t a bad one to qualify second to. But I look forward to Sunday. I think our Hooters Camaro, at least, has a good place to start, and we can have a good pit selection. That’s important. We have a long race ahead, but I’d really like to get a pole outside of a speedway track. We’ll try again next week.”

Fireworks provided by Michael McDowell and Daniel Suarez between the first two rounds of qualifying came as a result Suarez not thinking McDowell gave him adequate room. When Suarez confronted McDowell, McDowell responded with a shove. Suarez pulled McDowell to the ground, and a crewman pushed Suarez onto the hood of McDowell’s car. McDowell, then, grabbed Suarez’s leg.

“What I told Daniel, everybody makes mistakes; that’s just part of it,” McDowell said. Not every qualifying session is gonna go how you want it. It’s not how we wanted it to go. It hurt us as well. It’s not the race. We’ve got 300-and-some-odd laps to figure it out on Sunday.”

Neither driver advanced beyond the first round of qualifying. McDowell qualified 27th, and Suasrez was 28th.

Meanwhile, nine-time ISM Raceway winner and defending Ticket Guardian 500 victor Kevin Harvick was fastest in the opening round with a 25.903-second/138.980 mph lap. He advanced to the final round of the session and wound up eighth for Sunday’s starting grid.

Blaney was fastest in both the second and third rounds. His pole-winning lap in the final round was the fastest, overall, of the qualifying session and the only lap that clocked in over 141 mph. In round two he posted a 25.641-second/140.400 mph lap.

Below, is the complete starting grid for the Ticket Guardian 500 at ISM Raceway:

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Posted by on March 9, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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