DOVER, Del. – Mother Nature may have only let NASCAR XFINITY Series teams get one round of Coors Light Pole Qualifying in on Saturday morning at Dover Int’l Speedway, but that was all Erik Jones needed.
Jones wrapped up his 12th career pole and series-leading ninth of the season by running a single qualifying lap at the one-mile concrete oval, posting a track-record time of 22.739 seconds (158.318 mph) in his No. 20 Gamestop Toyota.
His time eclipsed teammate Kyle Busch’s six-year-old mark of 22.752 seconds (158.228 mph), set back in May of 2010.
Qualifying was shortened from three knockout rounds to only one, after persistent mist and light rain moved into the area following the conclusion of the opening 20-minute session.
With all 40 cars having taken time and the session going the scheduled distance, NASCAR officials made the determination to call qualifying complete just prior to 12:30 p.m. ET.
Jones won the XFINITY race at Dover this spring and is looking to complete the season sweep in the Drive Sober 200 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM).
“I was just fine with ending it right there when we did,” Jones smiled. “We have a good car. We made a lot of changes overnight and (crew chief) Chris (Gabehart) did a really nice job of getting us closer to where we needed to be.”
“The car was really good on that run. This pole means a lot and gives us some confidence and momentum after last week’s crash. Not that we lack that, so to speak, but it’s always nice to know for sure that we do have a fast race car because the time sheets back it up. Now we just have to go out and execute, finish top 10 or top five and get back inside that top eight to move on in the Chase.”
Busch slotted in second on the grid despite being unable to defend his track record, touring the Monster Mile in 22.834 seconds (157.660 mph) behind the wheel of the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota.
Joey Logano (22.860/157.480) was the fastest Ford in third, followed by Alex Bowman’s JR Motorsports Chevrolet (22.917/22.917).
Daniel Suarez completed the top five ahead of Justin Allgaier, Ty Dillon, Elliott Sadler, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Austin Dillon.
Notable names starting outside the top 10 include six of the 12 Chase contenders: Brennan Poole (12th), Brendan Gaughan (13th), Ryan Sieg (14th), Brandon Jones (16th), Blake Koch (20th) and Ryan Reed (22nd).
Of note, J.J. Yeley would have been the first driver who failed to advance to round two had qualifying continued, being knocked out by Dakoda Armstrong in the final minute of round one. Yeley will start 25th.
Pending weather, the Drive Sober 200 is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start time, with live coverage on NBCSN, the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.