NASCAR Cup SeriesNASCAR Xfinity Series

Brad Keselowski, Daniel Hemric on poles for Phoenix

4 Mins read
Credit: Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Brad Keselowski and Daniel Hemric finished one spot short in last weekend’s NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but NASCAR’s qualifying metric have blessed them with pole position for the upcoming weekend’s Instacart 500 and Call 811 Before You Dig 200 at Phoenix Raceway.

Cup: Invert of Vegas top two with Keselowski on Instacart 500 pole

Kyle Larson dominated the Cup race at Las Vegas en route to his first win as a Hendrick Motorsports driver. However, he will not start on the pole as Keselowski’s points standing (second to Larson’s third) and fastest lap of the race (also second to third) trump his.

Although poles set by qualifying formula are not officially counted in the record books, it is Keselowski’s first time starting on the front row in 2021. It is also his third career front-row start at Phoenix and first since 2014, when he qualified on pole and second in the track’s two races. He has never won at Phoenix but finished second in 2018 and 2020, the latter of which resulted in a runner-up championship finish to Larson’s team-mate Chase Elliott. While winless at Phoenix in the Cup Series, he has two Xfinity victories there.

Larson starts second at Phoenix for the third time in his Cup career, while his best finish is second in 2017.

Two driver changes from Vegas have occurred, both involving Rick Ware Racing: J.J. Yeley replaces Garrett Smithley in the #53 and will start thirty-fourth at his home track, while James Davison returns to the #15 in Joey Gase‘s place and starts last in thirty-eighth. Yeley will run his first Cup race of the season on Sunday, while Davison prepares for his third.

12Brad KeselowskiTeam PenskeFord
25Kyle LarsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
311Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
420Christopher BellJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
519Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyota
69Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
718Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
812Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFord
922Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord
1024William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
1147Ricky Stenhouse Jr.JTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet
121Kurt BuschChip Ganassi RacingChevrolet
133Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet
1443Erik JonesRichard Petty MotorsportsChevrolet
1537Ryan PreeceJTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet
1634Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFord
1717Chris BuescherRoush Fenway RacingFord
184Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas RacingFord
196Ryan NewmanRoush Fenway RacingFord
2021Matt DiBenedettoWood Brothers RacingFord
2148Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
2242Ross ChastainChip Ganassi RacingChevrolet
238Tyler ReddickRichard Childress RacingChevrolet
2441Cole CusterStewart-Haas RacingChevrolet
2523Bubba Wallace23XI RacingToyota
2614Chase BriscoeStewart-Haas RacingFord
2799Daniel SuárezTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet
2838Anthony AlfredoFront Row MotorsportsFord
2977Justin Haley*Spire MotorsportsChevrolet
3078B.J. McLeod*Live Fast MotorsportsFord
3151Cody Ware*Rick Ware RacingChevrolet
3210Aric AlmirolaStewart-Haas RacingFord
337Corey LaJoieSpire MotorsportsChevrolet
3453J.J. YeleyRick Ware RacingChevrolet
3500Quin HouffStarCom RacingChevrolet
3652Josh BilickiRick Ware RacingFord
3766Timmy Hill*MBM MotorsportsToyota
3815James DavisonRick Ware RacingChevrolet
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Cup points
Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Xfinity: Joe Gibbs front row with Hemric leading the way for Call 811 200

It will be a Joe Gibbs Racing front row for Saturday’s race as Hemric is joined by Brandon Jones on the front row.

Victory Lane continued to slip out of Hemric’s reach when he finished second to A.J. Allmendinger at Las Vegas; it was Hemric’s eighth runner-up finish as an Xfinity driver and tenth in NASCAR’s national series when one includes his two such finishes in the Camping World Truck Series (he also finished second in his lone start in what is now the ARCA Menards Series West in 2019). Phoenix will mark Hemric’s first race in which he starts first since the fall Kansas race in 2018.

Allmendinger starts fourth alongside points leader Austin Cindric, while his Kaulig Racing team-mates Justin Haley and Jeb Burton are a row behind him. Hemric and Jones’ JGR team-mate Harrison Burton will start seventh.

The fourth JGR car, the #54, is one of four cars with different drivers from last week as Ty Gibbs takes over for Ty Dillon; Gibbs enters the race hoping to win his second Xfinity race in as many starts, but has an uphill battle as he starts twenty-seventh. Starting beside him is Blaine Perkins in the #23 for Our Motorsports that Tyler Reddick piloted in Vegas; Perkins is making his Xfinity début. Further down the running order, Yeley once again replaces Smithley as he will drive Ware’s #17, while David Starr moves from MBM Motorsports‘ #13 to the #61 in Chad Finchum‘s place. The #13 will be driven by 2019 Whelen Euro Series champion Loris Hezemans in his first Xfinity race since that year, while the car will be fielded in a partnership between MBM and Reaume Brothers Racing (who previously fielded the #23 before Our assumed its operational duties) for the first time.

For the fourth straight week, Jordan Anderson, Our Motorsports‘ #03 (with Andy Lally entered for the second time), and Bassett Racing‘s #77 (Dillon Bassett for the second time) are excluded from the field.

118Daniel HemricJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
219Brandon JonesJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
322Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord
416A.J. AllmendingerKaulig RacingChevrolet
511Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet
610Jeb BurtonKaulig RacingChevrolet
720Harrison BurtonJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
81Michael AnnettJR MotorsportsChevrolet
98Josh BerryJR MotorsportsChevrolet
109Noah GragsonJR MotorsportsChevrolet
1168Brandon BrownBrandonbilt MotorsportsChevrolet
127Justin AllgaierJR MotorsportsChevrolet
1351Jeremy ClementsJeremy Clements RacingChevrolet
1426Santino FerrucciSam Hunt RacingToyota
1544Tommy Joe MartinsMartins MotorsportsChevrolet
1607Joe Graf Jr.SS-Green Light RacingChevrolet
1792Josh WilliamsDGM RacingChevrolet
184Landon CassillJD MotorsportsChevrolet
192Myatt SniderRichard Childress RacingChevrolet
2002Brett Moffitt*Our MotorsportsChevrolet
210Jeffrey EarnhardtJD MotorsportsChevrolet
2290Dexter BeanDGM RacingChevrolet
2378Jesse LittleB.J. McLeod MotorsportsToyota
2415Colby HowardJD MotorsportsChevrolet
256Ryan VargasJD MotorsportsChevrolet
2647Kyle WeathermanMike Harmon RacingChevrolet
2754Ty GibbsJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
2823Blaine PerkinsOur MotorsportsChevrolet
2974Bayley CurreyMike Harmon RacingChevrolet
3098Riley HerbstStewart-Haas RacingFord
3139Ryan SiegRSS RacingFord
3248Jade BufordBig Machine RacingChevrolet
3317J.J. YeleyRick Ware RacingFord
3452Gray GauldingJimmy Means RacingChevrolet
3599Stefan ParsonsB.J. McLeod MotorsportsToyota
3636Alex LabbéDGM RacingChevrolet
3761David StarrMBM MotorsportsToyota
385Matt MillsB.J. McLeod MotorsportsToyota
3966Timmy HillMBM MotorsportsToyota
4013Loris HezemansMBM MotorsportsToyota
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Xfinity points
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About author
Justin is neither a NASCAR nor off-road racer, but he has covered them for The Checkered Flag since 2018.
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