By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
BRISTOL, Tenn. – The stories for qualifying for the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 were similar to that of yesterday’s Cup qualifying. NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers had to have patience and deal with traffic. Several drivers also found trouble in the qualifying session. Meanwhile, Cole Custer scored his first career Busch Pole award at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Custer ran a 15.090 second, 127.157 mph lap in the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang. He edged out Justin Allgaier by 0.029 seconds to earn his career milestone.
Christopher Bell was third fastest, and second amongst the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash drivers (Custer being the fastest in that category as well). Daniel Hemric was fourth fastest and John Hunter Nemechek rounded out the top-five. Ryan Preece was the slowest amongst the Dash 4 Cash competitors, qualifying seventh.
Other notables included Shane Lee who is making his debut qualified in eighth. Series points leader Elliott Sadler qualified 13th, and Ty Majeski qualified 14thdespite failing pre-qualifying tech three times. Majeski will lose his car chief but will keep his starting position.
Tyler Reddick barely missed advancing from Round 1 to Round 2 of qualifying. When Reddick pulled on track to make a lap, he cut off Joey Gase’s No. 35 Sparks Chevrolet Camaro SS. Gase showed his displeasure with Reddick after the session, swerving towards Reddick and confronting him on pit road.
Ryan Sieg slammed the outside wall exiting turn four before spinning down into the inside wall. The accident left Sieg’s RSS Racing team scrambling with just under three hours to prep his back-up car.
Morgan Shepherd bounced off the wall early in Round 1. Despite the major damage to the right side of his No. 89 Visone RV Chevrolet Camaro SS, he returned to the track to make a lap. However, the damage to Shepherd’s car was too great and he failed to qualify for the race.
JGL Racing replaced Tony Mrakovich with Dylan Lupton for qualifying and the race, ending up 33rdon the grid. The team was quick to point out on Twitter that this was a NASCAR decision:
This is a NASCAR decision to give @TonyMrak43 the opportunity to have the best possible NASCAR debut. Bristol’s an incredibly difficult track that challenges even the most experienced drivers. We believe in Tony & are looking forward to seeing him develop.https://t.co/nwChRmJjyv
— JGL Racing (@JGLRacing) April 14, 2018