AVONDALE, Ariz. – Justin Allgaier will start Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Arizona’s ISM Raceway from the same place he ended in one year ago: the first position on the pylon.
Allgaier, the defending winner of the DC Solar 200, raced to his sixth-career series pole and first of the season with a huge lap of 26.896 seconds (133.849 mph) in the third and final round of qualifying.
The Riverton, Illinois native is seeking his first win of the year in the No. 7 BRANDT Chevrolet Camaro.
“This pole is a testament to all these guys at JR Motorsports,” said Allgaier of his crew. “Everyone has worked really hard. Rick Brandt, from BRANDT Professional Agriculture, always tells me he wants to get more poles because he loves the pole award … but he’s not here this weekend, so we did it without him being in the pits with us!”
“Having a Camaro up front (early) is important, but being up there for the end of the race is equally important. Last year, we were fortunate enough to win here in the spring and came back strong in the fall as well with another really solid day, so I’m looking forward to today and hopeful we can do it again.”
Allgaier will be flanked on the front row by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular Brad Keselowski, who qualified second with a lap of 26.909 seconds (133.784 mph) in the No. 22 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Ford Mustang for Team Penske.
Keselowski’s teammate Ryan Blaney finished second in both races last season at the one-mile oval.
Cole Custer was third for Stewart-Haas Racing in another Ford, followed by the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas of Christopher Bell and all-time Xfinity wins leader Kyle Busch.
Jamie McMurray, Ryan Truex, Daniel Hemric, Matt Tifft, Brandon Jones, Ryan Reed and Spencer Gallagher filled out the first six rows of the grid and all made the third round of qualifying.
Austin Cindric was the first driver who failed to advance to the final knockout round, posting a lap of 27.350 seconds (131.627 mph) and timing in 13th with the No. 60 Pirtek Ford Mustang.
Cindric also narrowly missed having a chance to run for the pole one week earlier at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“I think we got a little closer to what we need (for the race),” said Cindric. “I just wish we’d had a little more speed there. It just seemed like the more laps we got on the tires, the quicker and quicker everyone went, but that’s how it is sometimes. Sniffing the final round two weeks in a row is a pretty good place to be.”
Other notables who will start deep in the field include Ty Dillon (14th), Michael Annett (15th), Kaz Grala (17th), Ross Chastain (18th), Jeremy Clements (21st) and Elliott Sadler (24th), who did not take a lap in round two knowing he will start from the rear of the field in Saturday afternoon’s race.
Sadler’s JR Motorsports teammate Tyler Reddick took a hard hit into the outside wall in turn three on his first round run, sustaining heavy damage to the right side of the No. 9 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Chevrolet before he could complete a full lap.
Reddick will start from last on the grid, rolling off 40th in a backup car that was rolled off the trailer before the conclusion of qualifying.
The DC Solar 200 takes the green flag at 4 p.m. ET, live on FOX, the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
Full qualifying results can be viewed on the next page…