February 27, 2014 — By Shon Sbarra, NASCAR — Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR photo — AVONDALE, Ariz. – With his second straight 21 Means 21 presented by Coors Brewing Company Pole Award at Phoenix International Raceway, Cole Custer looks for the win he thought he had at the track about four months ago.
In qualifying for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West’s 2014 season-opening Talking Stick Resort 75 on Thursday, the 16-year-old from Ladera Ranch, Calif., won his second series-career pole position with a lap time of 27.369 seconds for an average speed of 131.536 mph on the one-mile oval in his No. 00 NAPA Auto Parts/Haas Automation Chevrolet.
In that November 2013 season finale, Custer earned a start from the pole and led every lap of the race except the last one after a nudge from eventual winner Gray Gaulding sent Custer spinning out of contention.
Starting alongside Custer on the front row will be three-time PIR winner Greg Pursley, who won the season opener at Phoenix a year ago. Pursley logged a qualifying time of 27.565 seconds (130.600 mph). With a win, the 2011 series champion will move into a tie with Ken Schrader for most series wins at the Arizona track.
David Mayhew, a March 2012 winner at PIR, was third-quickest in the session at 27.572 seconds (130.567 mph) while veteran Brett Thompson at 27.744 seconds (129.758 mph) and Gaulding with a time of 27.745 seconds (129.753 mph) were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders Kelly Admiraal and Nick Drake were sixth and seventh in the session followed by Brennan Newberry, Brandon McReynolds and Taylor Cuzick rounded out the top 10.
The Talking Stick Resort 75 is set to take the green flag just after 5 p.m. MT.