SPARTA, Ky. (AP) — The Latest on Saturday night’s NASCAR race at Kentucky Speedway (all times local):
Kurt Busch has earned his first NASCAR stage win of the season by winning the first 80-lap segment of the Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway.
It is the first stage victory for Busch since he joined Chip Ganassi Racing earlier this year, and the first for the No. 1 Chevrolet.
Busch started fourth and passed Brad Keselowski after a restart, then outdueled Keselowski and his Team Penske teammate Joey Logano until the end of the stage.
Logano was second with two-time race winner Kyle Busch third. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin was fourth and Aric Almirola was fifth.
Pole sitter Daniel Suarez led the first 49 laps before dropping back to 14th after a poor pit call to take four tires during an early stop. Almost every other team either changed two tires, or took fuel only.
Ryan Newman and Quin Houff both failed pre-race inspection and will drop to the back of the field for Saturday night’s NASCAR race at Kentucky Speedway.
Newman had qualified 23rd but will drop to 35th at the start in his Ford for Roush Fenway Racing.
Houff had qualified 35th so failing inspection only dropped the Spire Motorsports team one spot in the starting lineup. Spire last week snagged an upset victory at Daytona with Justin Haley driving when Haley inherited the lead moments before inclement weather stopped the race.
Daniel Suarez and Aric Almirola have passed pre-race inspection and will give Stewart-Haas Racing the front row at the start of Saturday night’s event at Kentucky Speedway.
The two Ford drivers posted the fastest laps in qualifying but NASCAR held a pre-race inspection to finalize the field. Stewart-Haas Racing is winless so far this season, but Suarez is aiming to become NASCAR’s third consecutive first-time Cup winner. Alex Bowman knocked down his first victory two weeks ago at Chicago, and Justin Haley won Daytona on Sunday.
Martin Truex Jr. is the two-time defending race winner at Kentucky, where Toyota drivers have won five of the eight Cup races at the track.
Ford drivers have won twice at Kentucky and have five entries starting in the top seven Saturday night.
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