NNS: Hornish Leads 1-2-3 JGR Sweep in Talladega Qualifying; Wins Coors Light Pole

RaceChaser Staff Featured, MidSouth, NASCAR 0 Comments

May 2, 2014 — staff report — NASCAR photo — TALLADEGA, AL — Sam Hornish Jr. won the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway on Friday.

Hornish, who is making his first Nationwide Series start of the season for Joe Gibbs Racing, posted his sixth career Coors Light Pole in the Nationwide Series.

Hornish topped the final round of qualifying with a lap of 186.783 mph. Hornish will be joined on the front row by his JGR teammate Elliott Sadler. In fact, JGR took the top three spots in the lineup for the Aaron’s 312 — Darrell Wallace Jr. will start third.

“Right there at the end with that five minute session it is a game of chicken and it is (about) who has the most patience to sit there and wait,” said Hornish, who is only scheduled to make seven Nationwide starts this season in the No. 54. “I’m real happy that my debut in the Monster Energy Camry worked out well. It is great to be over here at Joe Gibbs Racing.

“It definitely takes three teammates to do it today. Elliott led the way and I just kind of sat there and tried to maintain the gap between myself and Bubba (Wallace) and him (Sadler).”

Saturday’s race will be Hornish’s 100th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Reed will start fourth, while Richard Petty Motorsports’ Dakoda Armstrong rounds out the top five.

Brian Scott made some contact with the outside wall about halfway through the final session and will start 10th. All three Richard Childress Racing cars will start in the top 11.

The second round of qualifying was a bit of a waiting game as cars stayed on pit road for nearly the first five minutes of the round. David Ragan, Trevor Bayne and Kyle Larson were among the notable drivers not to advance to the final round of qualifying.

The first round of qualifying saw plenty of drafting. Pit road was a little chaotic early on as teams were trying to get organized in a pack for drafting. An initial pack of five TriStar Motorsports went out together with two other cars at the start of the first session but came back in before completing a lap.

Tanner Berryhill spun out after some contact from Larson, who tried to squeeze between Berryhill and Regan Smith. Berryhill suffered the most damage as he hit Derrike Cope and then smacked the wall. Berryhill’s car was towed away during the subsequent stoppage. Larson also suffered a little damage to his car.

The JR Motorsports trio of Chase Elliott, Smith and Kasey Kahne all did not advance past the first round of qualifying. The organization has won four of the series’ first eight races this season, and Elliott and Smith are 1-2 in points. Kahne will start 32nd, Smith will start 33rd and Elliott will start 37th on Saturday.

Rookie Dylan Kwasniewski of Turner Scott Motorsports was another notable driver who did advance to the second round of qualifying.

Chad Boat and Cope did not qualify for the race.

The Talladega qualifying session was the first full group qualifying session of three rounds at a restrictor-plate track in any NASCAR national series. In February, Nationwide Series qualifying at Daytona lasted one round before bad weather forced it to come to an early end.

The Aaron’s 312 will be on ESPN at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday. Television coverage of the race will begin at 2:30 p.m. ET.

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