CONCORD, N.C. — recap and audio by Race Chaser Online Associate Editor Kyle Magda — Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America photo —
Richard Childress Racing (RCR) continued to show their intermediate track speed Saturday with Austin Dillon grabbing the pole for Saturday’s Hisense 300.
Dillon laid down a lap of 29.25 seconds (184.615 mph) and the fastest time of the weekend in his No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet. The RCR driver was also fastest in Thursday’s second practice and looks to pick up his second NXS win on the season.
“We ran a lot of long runs Thursday in practice and it worked out pretty good,” Dillon said. “The Rheem Chevy is good and looking forward to this afternoon.”
Dillon won the pole earlier in the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and dominated the race before holding off a late-race charge from Ryan Blaney to score his first NASCAR win since his victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway last August.
“The XFINITY program is doing really well right now and kind of leading the shop,” Dillon said. “Trying to take a little bit of what we learn from over here. It’s a different deal when you go to that Cup garage.”
Dillon wasn’t the only RCR car in the top-five. Brian Scott qualified third in the No. 2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet, still searching for his first career win in NXS. Austin’s brother, Ty, made it three team cars in the final round, slotting in ninth. Ty looks to gain ground back on points leader and Iowa winner Chris Buescher.
Buescher only made it to the second round and starts 14th for Saturday’s Hisense 300. With Greg Biffle qualifying fourth for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, the Roush-Fenway Racing (RFR) speed shifted to NXS with rookie driver Darrell Wallace Jr. up a strong showing in the No. 6 Cheez-It Ford, being the only other driver to break the 184 mph barrier in qualifying.
“It wasn’t bad,” Wallace said of his qualifying lap. “Our Cheez-It Mustang is strong. It’s shown some speed through qualifying and race-trim, so excited to see how our chances shake out in the XFINITY Series race today.”
Wallace is coming off tying his career-best finish of sixth in last weekend’s 3M 250 at Iowa Speedway, a track where the 21-year-old driver has one of his three career front-row starts. In the last time out at the 1.5 mile track in the XFINITY Series at Texas Motor Speedway, the RFR driver took home a sixth-place finish in the Lone Star State.
“Our chances look good,” Wallace said about today’s race. “We just have to be mistake-free and we’re there at the end of the race.”
Wallace led the opening NXS practice Thursday afternoon before putting up the second-place effort in the final round of qualifying Saturday morning.
Teammates Elliott Sadler and Ryan Reed also made the top-12, with Reed starting in 10th and Sadler in the next row behind in 11th.
Texas winner Erik Jones rolls off seventh in the No. 20 Toyota, with Denny Hamlin returning to the No. 54 car and putting the Monster Energy Camry fourth on the grid. Joe Gibbs Racing put those two drivers in the final round. Rookie Daniel Suarez qualified 19th in his first start at CMS.
Kasey Kahne was the only driver in the JR Motorsports stable to qualify inside the top-10. JRM fielded a fourth car for Kahne this weekend, as the Washington driver hasn’t won in the series at Charlotte since May 2007. Kevin Harvick just missed the final round cut with a 13th-place effort, as Regan Smith and Chase Elliott will start right behind Harvick in 15th and 16th respectively.
The green flag for the Hisense 300 drops shortly after 2:30 p.m. ET and will be shown live on FOX.