NXS: Bad Fast; Austin Dillon Claims XFINITY Pole by a Quarter-Second in Las Vegas

Jacob Seelman NASCAR, West 0 Comments

LAS VEGAS, Nev. and CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Report by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — NASCAR photo —

If Austin Dillon’s performance so far in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is any indication, the rest of the field ought to be worried — very worried.

Dillon, who led both practice sessions on Friday in his No. 33 Rheem/Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, made a rare second lap during the final round of Coors Light Pole Qualifying for Saturday afternoon’s Boyd Gaming 300 pay big dividends. The third-generation driver rocketed to the top of the charts with a blistering 184.332 mph (29.295 second) clip around the 1.5 mile speedway in casino country to claim his second NXS pole of the season and 12th of his career.

“We never even ran two laps yesterday, and I knew our teammate (Scott) was pretty fast, so I knew it was going to be close,” Dillon said. “That was pretty flat out. That was all I had. We’ve won practice twice and now qualifying, so hopefully we can be here in Victory lane this afternoon. We’ve got a great car.”

The lap was a full quarter of a second faster than any of his competitors in the final round of qualifying, something that makes Dillon very excited about his chances later in the afternoon.

“It’s gonna be really hot and slick this afternoon. I think we’ve made the right adjustments for race trim — it’s already getting greasy out there. I’ve got some race history from our old data and it shows it’s getting slicker. I think we’ve put that into our car and I’m really excited for the race.”

Dillon was never out of the top two in the entirety of knockout qualifying, leading the first round of qualifying and slotting into second in round two.

Dillon’s RCR teammate Brian Scott topped the second round but had nothing for the Rheem machine in the final round, with Scott posting a lap of 182.753 mph (29.548) to start on the outside of the front row.

Erik Jones posted a solid lap of 182.636 mph (29.567) to end the final round third overall in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20, with fellow young gun Ryan Blaney clocking in fourth-fastest at 182.432 mph (29.600)

A third RCR mount, the No. 62 South Point Hotel and Casino Chevrolet of hometown driver Brendan Gaughan, gave RCR three of the top five spots in qualifying after Gaughan was able to put up the fifth-quickest lap of those who made it to the final round (182.359/29.612).

JR Motorsports teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr., Regan Smith and defending champion Chase Elliott qualified sixth through eighth, respectively. Aric Almirola and Chris Buescher rounded out the first five rows.

Denny Hamlin advanced to the final round and qualified 11th, subbing for the injured Kyle Busch this weekend in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota.

Roush Fenway Racing teammates Darrell Wallace Jr. and Elliott Sadler had quite the exchange in qualifying, with “Bubba” bumping Sadler from the final transfer spot to round three by 0.012 seconds — Wallace will start 12th and Sadler 13th in Saturday afternoon’s race.

Other notables who didn’t advance to the final round of qualifying included Daniel Suarez (15th); Brennan Poole (16th), in his debut with HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi; Daytona winner Ryan Reed (18th); points leader Ty Dillon (20th) and Dakoda Armstrong (23rd), who is fifth in series points entering Sin City.

Two drivers failed to qualify: Dexter Bean and Josh Reaume.

The Boyd Gaming 300 takes the green flag at 4:15 Eastern time on Saturday afternoon, with live coverage on FOX Sports 1.

 

RESULTS: NASCAR XFINITY Series; Coors Light Pole Qualifying; Las Vegas Motor Speedway; March 7, 2015

  1. Austin Dillon
  2. Brian Scott
  3. Erik Jones
  4. Ryan Blaney
  5. Brendan Gaughan
  6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  7. Regan Smith
  8. Chase Elliott
  9. Aric Almirola
  10. Chris Buescher
  11. Denny Hamlin
  12. Darrell Wallace Jr.
  13. Elliott Sadler
  14. Ryan Sieg
  15. Daniel Suarez
  16. Brennan Poole
  17. Mike Bliss
  18. Ryan Reed
  19. Blake Koch
  20. Ty Dillon
  21. John Wes Townley
  22. Landon Cassill
  23. Dakoda Armstrong
  24. Eric McClure
  25. Jeremy Clements
  26. Jamie Dick
  27. J.J. Yeley
  28. Cale Conley
  29. Harrison Rhodes
  30. Carl Long
  31. David Starr
  32. Mario Gosselin
  33. Derek White
  34. Jeff Green
  35. Joey Gase
  36. Derrike Cope
  37. Mike Harmon
  38. Ross Chastain
  39. Morgan Shepherd
  40. Cody Ware

DNQ: Dexter Bean, Josh Reaume

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