In the last race of the NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season, Cole Custer sets the pace for the pole position at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the inaugural DC Solar 300 with a speed of 179.295 mph at 30.118 seconds.
“Yeah, that was one of the craziest qualifying sessions I’ve had,” Custer shared on pit road after winning his fifth career pole in the XFINITY Series.
Custer was over two-tenths faster than Austin Cindric, who edged out Elliott Sadler and Christopher Bell by thousands of a second between those three drivers. Ross Chastain fought his way to a fifth place effort.
Shane Lee in his first 1.5 mile oval attempt stayed in the top ten of qualifying all day, and will start in sixth. JR Motorsports teammates Tyler Reddick, Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett will start seventh through ninth respectively. The last two drivers to attempt a qualifying time in the final round were Ryan Sieg and Ryan Reed.
Jeremy Clements was the only driver in the final round that did not make an attempt to qualify, so his No. 51 Chevrolet will start in the 12th spot in today’s race.
Last Second Lap gives Custer the Pole in the First Round of Qualifying
The No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford set the pace early in qualifying with a speed of 177.032 mph in the first round of qualifying. After struggling to get through the inspection line, Custer was able to finally pass inspection, finish their final preparations and cross the start/finish line to begin their qualifying attempt with 40 seconds left on the clock. JR Motorsports teammates Justin Allgaier and Tyler Reddick were close in the top three. Christopher Bell and Elliott Sadler completed the top five, but Shane Lee was the one who held the top spot the longest for his first 1.5 mile race.
During the first stage of qualifying, many cars failed inspection, mostly in the rear end. A few teams even failed the second time, putting the car chiefs in jeopardy. According to NASCAR’s rulebook, if a team fails inspection three times, the car chief is ejected from the race and facility for the rest of the weekend. Because of this, some teams elected to not to go through inspection. Matt Tifft was one driver that failed inspection for a third time, so his car chief was ejected for the remainder of the weekend.
Qualifying was halted for a red flag incident with Garrett Smithley, who collided with the outside wall. In qualifying, any incidents that would usually be a yellow flag in race conditions is a red flag. This halts the timer, but inspections continued to give teams a little extra time. Smithley would have to start at the rear of the field in a backup car.
David Starr held the last transferable spot going into the second round, as he beat Timmy Hill.
The drivers that either elected to not attempt a qualifying run or were held up with tech inspection included Daniel Hemric, Stan Mullis, Matt Tifft, Brandon Jones, Ryan Preece and Ryan Truex.
Custer Sweeps Both Stages of Qualifying
Cole Custer kept his top spot in the second round of qualifying with a speed of 178.406 mph. Ross Chastain found himself in the top 10 of qualifying for the first time with a runner-up effort. Austin Cindric, Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell completed the top five of the second round.
Roughly four drivers made some last run attempts to get into the final round of qualifying but fell short of the top 12. The closest of these was Chase Briscoe, but as he took the green flag, the car got loose and was close to hitting the outside wall at the exit of Turn 4. He pulled out onto the track earlier in the session, but after he took the green flag, the car bobbled in the bumps of Turns 1 and 2, so he wisely backed out to get a better attempt later in the session.
Four drivers in the second stage did not set a qualifying time: Ray Black II, Cole Rouse, BJ McLeod and David Starr.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Inaugural DC Solar 300
|1||00||Cole Custer||Code 3 Associates||Ford|
|2||22||Austin Cindric #||MoneyLion||Ford|
|3||1||Elliott Sadler||OneMain Financial||Chevrolet|
|4||20||Christopher Bell #||GameStop Tomb Raider||Toyota|
|5||42||Ross Chastain||DC Solar||Chevrolet|
|6||3||Shane Lee||Childress Vineyards||Chevrolet|
|7||9||Tyler Reddick #||Nationwide Children’s||Chevrolet|
|8||7||Justin Allgaier||BRANDT Professional Agriculture||Chevrolet|
|9||5||Michael Annett||Allstate Parts & Service Group||Chevrolet|
|10||39||Ryan Sieg||Big Valley Towing||Chevrolet|
|11||16||Ryan Reed||Drive Down A1C Lilly Diabetes||Ford|
|15||36||Alex Labbe #||Sticky-stuff.com/JamesCarterAtty||Chevrolet|
|18||38||JJ Yeley||RSS Racing||Chevrolet|
|21||8||Ray Black II||Chevrolet|
|26||45||Josh Bilicki #||Prevagen||Toyota|
|27||76||Spencer Boyd #||Grunt Style||Chevrolet|
|28||74||Mike Harmon||Shadow Warriors Project||Chevrolet|
|29||40||Chad Finchum #||Smithbilt Homes||Chevrolet|
|30||93||Jeff Green||RSS Racing||Chevrolet|
|31||90||Josh Williams||Sleep Well/Star Tron||Chevrolet|
|33||01||Vinnie Miller #||JAS Expedited Trucking||Chevrolet|
|35||21||Daniel Hemric||South Point Hotel & Casino||Chevrolet|
|36||19||Brandon Jones||Menards Mastercraft Doors||Toyota|
|38||11||Ryan Truex||LeafFilter Gutter Protection||Chevrolet|
|40||13||Stan Mullis||OCR Gaz Bar||Dodge|