Sunday, September 26, 2021

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Elliott Sadler scores pole for 300

A Joe Gibbs Racing car took the pole for the 300, but it’s not the Toyota that you’re thinking. This week, it was Elliott Sadler putting his No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota on the pole for his 16th career pole award. Sadler scored his first pole of the season with a lap of 40.680 seconds, 176.991 mph.

“The guys made a lot of great changes on this Toyota,” Sadler commented. “I wasn’t able to get these guys a Pole last year so hopefully to get one this early will give us some momentum. Its just a pole – but shows we have a lot of speed in this car. We ran well here last year so hopefully we have a good run here.”

Sadler will be joined by his JGR teammate Matt Kenseth on the front row. Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have won the last nine NASCAR Nationwide Series races at Auto Club Speedway, with five of the race winners starting from the pole.

Rookie Ty Dillon qualified third, followed by Joey Logano and Chase Elliott.

“Overall our NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet was good in qualifying,” Elliott commented. “I messed up in one and two on the last set of qualifying. We have good track position now; hope we have it when it counts today.”

Kevin Harvick qualified sixth and said after qualifying that his team missed the set-up for qualifying, but he feels that he’ll be fine in the race.

“We didn’t do any qualifying runs yesterday to save the tires,” Harvick added. “We paid for a little today but I’d rather have the tires when it comes to race time.”

Dylan Kwasniewski qualified seventh, followed by Kyle Larson, Brian Scott, Brendan Guaghan, Regan Smith and James Buescher. Trevor Bayne, who comes into the weekend second in points, qualified 13th.

Kyle Busch was unable to make an attempt as his team had trouble getting his No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota through tech. Crew chief Adam Stevens told MRN radio that Kyle Busch’s car has wheel studs, then skew problems in tech inspection. Meanwhile, NASCAR’s John Darby said it was a rear axle housing issue. Busch will start from the rear of the field, but as noted at Las Vegas, Busch can easily get through the field rather quickly in a Nationwide race.

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