NNS QUALIFYING: Penske Dominance; Blaney Fast, But Keselowski Scores Nationwide Pole at Homestead

Jacob Seelman NASCAR, Southeast 0 Comments

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Report by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Robert Laberge/Getty Images North America photo —

Brad Keselowski wasn’t the fastest Team Penske car in NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) qualifying Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but he was fast enough to top the charts when it mattered.

Keselowski posted a lap of 166.384 mph in the final round of Coors Light Pole Qualifying to claim his fifth Coors Light Pole Award of the 2014 NNS season and 19th of his career in advance of the Ford EcoBoost 300 (4 p.m. on ESPN2). Keselowski will be lokking to seal the owner’s championship for owner Roger Penske in his No. 22 Hertz Ford Mustang.

Kyle Larson posted the second-fastest speed in all three qualifying rounds and as such will start alongside Keselowski on the front row for the Nationwide Series season finale after his lap of 166.353 mph.

The event will be the last for Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor of NASCAR’s second-tier series, with Comcast’s XFINITY brand taking over naming rights for the series in 2015.

Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Matt Kenseth (third; 166.006) and Elliott Sadler (fourth; 165.827) start in row two, with Ryan Blaney, who topped the first two rounds and nearly took the pole away from his teammate Keselowski before getting loose off turn four, rounding out the top five.

Kyle Busch, Brian Scott, Brendan Gaughan, Dylan Kwasniewski and Chris Buescher complete the first five rows on the grid — young guns Ryan Reed and Josh Berry, making just his second career NNS start for JR Motorsports, round out the top twelve cars who advanced to round three.

Trevor Bayne was the first driver to miss the top twelve cut, while two of the three JR Motorsports cars missed the final round of qualifying.

2014 Nationwide champion Chase Elliott was only able to muster the 14th-quickest speed in the second round after being the last car to advance out of round one, and his teammate Regan Smith slotted in just behind him in 15th.

Other notables not advancing to the final round were Ty Dillon (21st) and Jame Buescher (24th).

Ross Chastain missed advancing to the second round by 0.014 seconds, slotting into 25th on the grid for this afternoon’s event.

Other notables who failed to advance to round two included Paul Menard (31st) and 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour chamions Ryan Preece (33rd), who is driving this weekend for Tommy Baldwin Racing.

Five drivers failed to qualify for the event — Ryan Ellis, Derrike Cope, Kevin Lepage, John Jackson and Martin Roy.

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