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Scott Hend closed with a 69 and he shared | Forum

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TALLADEGA, Ala. Nikolaj Ehlers Jersey . -- A group decision for all of the cars powered by Earnhardt Childress engines to work together at Talladega Superspeedway proved the correct call in NASCARs new knockout qualifying format. Richard Childress Racing drivers and their affiliates swept the first three rows on the starting grid for Sundays race, with the pole going to Brian Scott, who will lead the field to the green flag in just his fifth career Sprint Cup Series start. "Who would have thought that, huh?" Scott asked after Saturdays qualifying session. Cars with ECR engines took six of the 12 spots in the third and final round of knockout qualifying, and they all waited patiently on pit road for someone to make a move. It came with roughly 2 minutes, 20 seconds remaining in the 5-minute session, when all 12 drivers made their way onto the track. Tony Stewart posted the fastest lap as he worked with the other three Stewart-Haas Racing drivers, and as the clock neared the final buzzer, it appeared the three-time NASCAR champion had the pole locked up. Then came the ECR pack of cars, with Ryan Newman leading, Scott somewhere in the middle and Paul Menard bringing up the rear. Team owner Childress had designated Newman as the driver to decide when the pack should go, and Menard was charged with pushing them along. Just as time expired, the entire group shot past Stewarts speed and moved to the top of the leaderboard. It was Scott on the pole, followed by Menard and then AJ Allmendinger, an RCR-affiliated driver. Casey Mears, also an affiliated driver, qualified fourth and was followed by Daytona 500 pole-sitter Austin Dillon and Newman. "It was just a great plan by RCR, getting all the RCR alliance cars working together," Allmendinger said. "We worked on that (in practice) and felt like we all had great speed. Ryan was the guinea pig for all of us and timed it right, and that last session, it was just basically who was going to wait the longest to go out there." It was the first time NASCAR has used its new knockout format on a restrictor-plate track in the Sprint Cup Series. Daytona 500 qualifying in February was done with traditional single-car runs. "The qualifying format, I think there are good tracks for it and bad tracks for it, and this is definitely a great track for it," Menard said. "We had a plan and we tried to stick to the plan as best we could. Ryan, we put the burden on him to decide when to go and where to go, and the rest of us held it in line. ECR top-six and RCR cars all up there is pretty exciting." Now Scott gets to show what hes made of on one of NASCARs fastest tracks. A Nationwide Series regular, hes got three previous starts this season and finished 25th in the Daytona 500. "Ive got that dreaded yellow (rookie) stripe on the bumper, and thats going to make people run away from me like the plague," Scott said of finding drafting partners on Sunday. Stewart wound up 12th in the final session after it appeared he had the pole locked up. SHR put all four of its cars in the final round, and Danica Patrick earned the highest starting spot at seventh. Joey Logano, meanwhile, failed to advance into the final round of qualifying for the first time this season. Hed made it through all three rounds in eight previous sessions. He qualified 16th. "Its not by a good car or not, its just by strategy," Logano said. "We put a lot of work and effort into keeping that streak alive. Its unfortunate." Dustin Byfuglien Jersey . This weeks Raptors Report puts a bow on Gays brief, 10-month tenure in Toronto and ponders how his absence will affect the teams offence. Are they a better team without him? In addition to acquiring some valuable cap flexibility, what impact will the four incoming players have this season and beyond? Click here for the Dec. Blake Wheeler Jersey Macau (SportsNetwork.com) - Anirban Lahiri fired a 5-under 66 in the final round Sunday and he rallied to win the Macau Open. Lahiri, who won for the second time this season and for the fifth time of his career on the Asian Tour, finished at 17-under-par 267 at Macau Golf and Country Club. After making birdie at the second and sixth, Lahiri tripped to a bogey at the par-4 seventh. He bounced back with consecutive birdies at eight and nine. Lahiri parred the first four holes around the tuurn before jumping to minus-17 with back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15. Keith Tkachuk Jets Jersey. . He wrapped up the victory with three more pars. Third-round leader Scott Hend closed with a 69 and he shared second place with Prom Meesawat (66) at minus-16. Hend bogeyed the last hole to cost himself at least a spot in a playoff. Adam Groom (66) took fourth at 14-under-par 270, while Berry Henson and Unho Park, who both fired 6-under 65s in the final round, were two back at minus-12. ' ' '