WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Audio and recap by Race Chaser Online Associate Editor Kyle Magda — Getty Images for NASCAR photo —
The speed that Cole Custer had in last Saturday’s ARCA race at Pocono never left him going into Friday at Watkins Glen International.
Custer led final practice in the No. 00 Carlyle Tools/HAAS Automation Toyota setting the fastest time in qualifying at 73.173 seconds (120.536 mph) to secure the pole for Friday evening’s Bully Hill Vineyards 125.
“We brought a really good car and I can’t thank everybody at Bill McAnally Racing and JR Motorsports enough for coming together and making this happen,” Custer said. “I think we have a great car for tonight and be in contention for the win.”
The 17-year-old driver won last weekend’s ARCA event at Pocono becoming the youngest superspeedway winner in their series history at 17 years, six months and nine days, beating fellow JR Motorsports driver and NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott by two days.
Custer brings back the new composite-body style to the Glen, much like the car he ran in the West race in June at Sonoma.
Joining Custer on the front row is another 17-year-old driver in William Byron. The K&N East points leader qualified second in the West Sonoma event and once again sits outside pole for another K&N road race.
“I think I left everything out there that I could give and I feel like there are a couple places I could’ve picked up, but I just really wanted to be in the top-five,” Byron said. “There’s a lot of competitive cars here,
Byron paced seventh and ninth in the two K&N East practices, respectively, before out-qualifying his teammate and defending Watkins Glen race winner Scott Heckert.
“So, we weren’t quite sure what we were going to have, but if I knew if I did my job and we worked on the car a little bit, we’d be good in qualifying,” Byron added. “Really pumped about the race. HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks builds great road-course race cars and I’m enjoying my time at the road course.
Three of the HScott cars qualified inside the top-five, with Byron leading the quintet in second. Heckert starts right behind Byron, but also has 16-year-old teammate J.J. Haley to his outside.
“Third place is a good place, just hopefully ride a little bit,” Heckert said about today’s race. “If we can get the lead, that’d be great. I’d like to lead a lot of laps. Happy with the car on race runs and I think qualifying may have not been our strong suit, but I think as the long goes on, it’ll only get stronger.”
Byron, Haley and Dalton Sargeant all ran the Sonoma event to tune their road-course skills before coming to the 2.45-mile road course in the Finger Lakes Region of New York.
Haley qualified fourth in his first Glen appearance and was the only driver in the top-five not to come out of the first eight-car group in qualifying. New Smyrna winner Austin Hill posted thhttp://archive.racechaseronline.com/wp/wp-admin/post-new.phpe fifth-fastest time at 73.525 seconds (119.959 mph)
Jefferson-Pitts Racing drivers Dylan Lupton and Noah Gragson qualified eighth and ninth, respectively, and are both making their K&N East debuts this evening.
Kevin O’Connell and Sarah-Cornett Ching comprise of the 12th and final row for Friday’s Bully Hill Vineyards 125. The No. 99 Bill McAnally Racing team of Eddie Cheever III withdrew their entry after blowing a motor in final practice.
The green flag drops for Friday’s Bully Hill Vineyards 125 and you can follow along live on the Race Chaser Online Twitter page (@RaceChaserNews) for updates.
Audio with pole-sitter Cole Custer
Audio with second-place qualifier William Byron
Audio with third-place qualifier Scott Heckert
RESULTS: NASCAR K&N Pro Series East; Bully Hill Vineyards 125; Coors Keystone Light Pole Qualifying; August 7, 2015
- Cole Custer
- William Byron
- Scott Heckert
- J.J. Haley
- Austin Hill
- Nick Drake
- Dalton Sargeant
- Dylan Lupton
- Noah Gragson
- Kaz Grala
- Daniel Hemric
- Marc-Antoine Camirand
- Jesse Little
- Devon Amos
- Kenzie Ruston
- Jay Beasley
- Brian Wong
- Rico Abreu
- Kyle Benjamin
- Todd Souza
- Collin Cabre
- David Garbo Jr.
- Kevin O’Connell
- Sarah-Cornett Ching