Running a partial schedule for GMS Racing this year, Ty Dillon would put the pieces together correctly to score the pole for the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway. Going out in the final round of qualifying, Dillon would hang back with a couple of other young drivers to get the needed run on the front group for the right lap. He would score the pole with a lap of 47.676 seconds.
Travis Kvapil will start second in Premium Motorsports’ Truck Series debut, followed by Brad Keselowski Racing teammates Tyler Reddick and Austin Theriault. James Buescher will round out the top-five as he runs a limited schedule this year.
Ben Kennedy will start sixth in his first race with Red Horse Racing, followed by Erik Jones, Chris Fontane, Scott Lagasse Jr. and Spencer Gallagher. Jennifer Jo Cobb and Donnie Neuenberger rounded out the top 12.
“A couple great runs, and I made a mistake the first run,” Cobb commented. “Who says they don’t like this qualifying? It’s exciting as a heck for a fan. There’s a lot of small teams that can’t run up front everywhere and twice a year, we get to say that. We get to say that we can go for it.”
David Gilliland and Cameron Hayley were both set to transfer into the top 12 for the final round, but will start 13th and 14th after their second lap was disallowed in the second round of qualifying.
“I honestly don’t know,” Hayley said of what happened. “We have a great No. 13 Toyota Tundra and I think we were the fastest truck that led the pack, so I’m happy about that. I’m just a rookie driver trying to get a good starting spot out there, and to have a Cup driver push you and get your time disallowed. It is what it is. We have a fast truck and we can still get it done.”
“You can bump, but you can’t push. It’s a little different than the Cup Series. All that Roush Yates horsepower, just couldn’t get off of him,” Gilliland commented.
The qualifying session wouldn’t go well for everyone as defending series champion Matt Crafton will start 31st after not getting up in a group during the first round.
“I don’t think there was any issue, except there was an issue with NASCAR,” crew chief Carl Joiner Jr. “We weren’t lined up at the end of the pit road or ready to go when they called it. We told called on our teammates to wait, but guess we’re on our own out there.”
Daniel Saurez also ran into problems, as he will start 30th after his truck didn’t get going at the beginning of the session.
“The truck is fast and very comfortable. We showed that in the first and second practice, but something weird happened,” he shared. “I wasn’t able to just start the engine. As soon as I went to go, I don’t know what happened.”
Timothy Peters would have the worst session of the bunch, making heavy contact with the outside wall after contact from Norm Benning. Peters went to go by Benning, and Benning tried to slide up behind him, but misjudged it majorly.
“We just hate that to happen,” Peters commented. “That was nonsense. They said once you get rolling, you shouldn’t pass on pit road and I hesistaed a little so….I just want them to be a little bit more clear. It’s a little screwed up. Either way, we’ll take our medicine. We have a good back-up. If we can keep it clean, we’ll be fine.”
“With him right down on my tail, it just came up and I got into him. I’ll be apologizing for awhile,” Benning said.