By: Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspondent
- Stenhouse takes pole on last qualifying run
- Keselowski to start 2nd
- Roush Fenway Racing start 1st & 3rd
Stenhouse claims Indy IRP NNS pole for Roush Fenway Racing
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. got his No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford around Lucas Oil Raceway Park in 22.808 seconds Saturday to claim the pole for the Kroger 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race later in the evening.
“We struggled in second practice,” Stenhouse said, complementing his crew on getting the car better and good enough for a pole run.
Stenhouse may have struggled in the second practice, but he had the fastest car in first practice and, for that reason, was the final driver to make a qualifying attempt.
“If we can get more cloud cover, I think it (going out last) can be an advantage,” Stenhouse said prior to his attempt. “But there’s not much time between the first car and the last car here.”
The No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge of Brad Keselowski will start alongside Stenhouse on the front row in the second position.
“Second’s still a pretty good start,” Keselowski said after being replaced by Stenhouse in the top spot.
Carl Edwards will start third in the No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford. He is joined on the second row by Justin Allgaier in the No. 31 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet on the second row.
Allgaier’s lap time of 22.938 seconds was good enough for the temporary provisional pole. He was the first driver to turn a lap under 23 seconds and held the pole position until he was knocked off by Edwards’ lap of 22.857 seconds.
“The first lap was a little bit scary,” Allgaier said. “I’m not going to lie.”
Edwards maintained the provisional pole through much of the last half of the qualifying session until he was knocked off the top spot by Keselowski. As the next to last driver to go out, Keselowski posted a time of 22.848 seconds to lay claim to the provisional pole until the last car in qualifying, the No. 6 of Stenhouse, made his run.
...more cloud cover, I think it (going out last) can be an advantage.
Another Roush Fenway Racing Ford -- the No. 16 of Trevor Bayne -- will start fifth after a qualifying lap of 22.957 seconds.
Only 42 cars attempted to qualify for Saturday’s race, so all cars were awarded starting spots and the starting grid will be one car shy of a full field. Travis Pastrana, who was injured in an X Games accident on Thursday night, was expected to make his Nationwide Series debut on Saturday, but withdrew because of his injuries.
Elliott Sadler’s No. 2 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet was one of the fastest cars at the track and was one of the final three cars on hand to make a qualifying attempt. Sadler was unable to complete a lap, though, because he hit the wall in turn one after taking the green flag for his qualifying attempt. As a result, he’ll bring up the rear, starting in the race 42nd.