INDIANAPOLIS — Future contracts and the future of the oval here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the talk of the NASCAR garage on Saturday. Kyle Busch says he’ll take less money to stay at Joe Gibbs Racing but they still need a $20 million sponsor that they don’t have right now. Kevin Harvick said he’d more than welcome Busch as a teammate in 2023 should he need to leave JGR. Stewart-Haas Racing doesn’t necessarily have an opening but they may have one too.
Harvick also says that he hopes the Cup Series returns to the 2.5-mile famed oval sooner rather than later calling the Verizon 200 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, IMS Radio Network) an embarrassment to the series.
Ty Dillon spoke on his future and that he’s trusting in God to guide him where to go. That’s all before any Cup car took to the track for a brief 2 group practice session around the 2.439-mile road course.
Austin Cindric (98.467 mph) topped the speed charts in that session. He narrowly missed out on the pole shortly after in qualifying his No. 2 Ford in 2nd. He also started there in last year’s Xfinity Series race that he won.
Tyler Reddick topped him in his No. 8 Chevrolet to score his 2nd career pole and 3 top 4 starting spot in the last 5 races. One of those was a 4th place start in his Road America win.
Chase Briscoe qualified 2nd last year and was 3rd on Saturday. Christopher Bell and Joey Logano rounded out the top 5 in qualifying.
Ford took 5 of the top 7 starting spots with Team Penske putting 3 of their cars in the top 6. Hendrick Motorsports only had 1 car made the final round with Chase Elliott qualifying 8th. He has 5 straight top 2 finishes on the season.
Kyle Larson (22nd), William Byron (23rd) and Alex Bowman (28th) all were eliminated in the first round.
Defending race winner AJ Allmendinger starts 20th.
All 3 top 3 starters are Brad Keselowski Racing alums.