NXS: JGR Reigns Again in XFINITY Qualifying; Erik Jones Claims Iowa Pole

Jacob Seelman Featured, NASCAR, XFINITY 0 Comments

Erik Jones powered his No. 20 Freightliner Toyota to his sixth NASCAR XFINITY Series pole of the season Saturday at Iowa Speedway. (Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images photo)

Erik Jones powered his No. 20 Freightliner Toyota to his sixth NASCAR XFINITY Series pole of the season Saturday in Iowa. (Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images photo)

NEWTON, Iowa — Yet again, Joe Gibbs Racing reigned supreme in Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

For the eighth time this season, the organization swept the top three positions on the grid and left the rest of their competition searching for answers — led by Erik Jones, who toured the .875-mile Iowa Speedway in 23.204 seconds (135.752 mph) during the third and final round of knockout qualifying to grab the 21 Means 21 Pole Award for Sunday’s American Ethanol E-15 250 (1:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM).

The top effort marked Jones’ sixth pole of year and ninth of his career. He led all three knockout rounds, with his fastest lap coming in round one at 23.063 seconds.

“It seems like every time we go to a place where we’re racing during the day I’m not that happy with the car, but it always seems to work out when we get going and get around race time,” Jones said. “Fortunately, we were pretty good in all aspects of qualifying today, and to get this Freightliner Camry another pole this year is a big deal. Hopefully we can go get another win come race time tomorrow — that’d be the big one for us.”

“I feel good about where we’re at right now. We’ve done a lot of work on our program to improve things and get a lot better. It should be a good race, though … it’s going to be all about keeping up on your car and making the right adjustments. Everyone’s going to be getting better all day long and we’re going to need to stay ahead of the curve if we’re going to win the race. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll be there in the end and have ourselves a shot.”

Jones’ teammates Daniel Suarez (23.267/135.385) and Sam Hornish Jr. (23.345/134.933) — who is subbing for the injured Matt Tifft this weekend — slotted in second and third, respectively, on the starting grid as JGR seeks its series-leading ninth victory in 14 races this season.

JR Motorsports filled out the top five courtesy of Justin Allgaier and Elliott Sadler.

Ben Kennedy clocked the sixth-fastest lap ahead of his XFINITY debut for Richard Childress Racing, followed by Brad Keselowski, Ty Dillon, Alex Bowman, Brandon Jones, Ryan Reed and Darrell Wallace Jr. among the drivers who advanced through all three knockout rounds.

Notables starting outside the top dozen include Drew Herring (13th), Ross Chastain (15th), Brennan Poole (20th) and Brendan Gaughan (23rd).

Claire Decker was the only driver who failed to qualify for the 40-car field.


RESULTS: NASCAR XFINITY Series; Coors Light Pole Qualifying; Iowa Speedway; June 18, 2016

  1. Erik Jones
  2. Daniel Suarez
  3. Sam Hornish Jr.
  4. Justin Allgaier
  5. Elliott Sadler
  6. Ben Kennedy
  7. Brad Keselowski
  8. Ty Dillon
  9. Alex Bowman
  10. Brandon Jones
  11. Ryan Reed
  12. Darrell Wallace Jr.
  13. Drew Herring
  14. Ryan Sieg
  15. Ross Chastain
  16. Jeremy Clements
  17. J.J. Yeley
  18. Ryan Preece
  19. Blake Koch
  20. Brennan Poole
  21. Dakoda Armstrong
  22. Justin Marks
  23. Brendan Gaughan
  24. Garrett Smithley
  25. Dexter Bean
  26. Joey Gase
  27. Timmy Hill
  28. Tyler Young
  29. B.J. McLeod
  30. Ray Black Jr.
  31. Travis Kvapil
  32. Jeff Green
  33. Mario Gosselin
  34. Carl Long
  35. Morgan Shepherd
  36. Josh Reaume
  37. Mike Harmon
  38. Derrike Cope
  39. Harrison Rhodes
  40. Paige Decker

DNQ:  Claire Decker


About the Writer

jacobseelmanJacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.

Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.

The 22-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.

Email Jacob at: [email protected]

Follow on Twitter: @Speed77Radio or @JacobSeelman77

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