NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Brandon Jones Wins First NASCAR XFINITY Pole at Daytona

Brandon Jones continued the weekend’s young-gun trend Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, winning the pole for the NASCAR XFINITY Series race to be held later this afternoon.

In his 39th start, the 20-year-old sophomore driver earned the third straight Daytona pole for Richard Childress Racing. Jones, who made the XFINITY Chase last season hopes to take another step forward to Victory Lane as he starts his second season with the team.

“This is just awesome,” a stunned Jones said. “I’m at a loss for words right now. We just have to calm down here and focus on getting through the race.”

Ryan Reed also nabbed his career-best qualifying effort, qualifying second in his No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford. That raises expectations for a driver whose only career win in the series occurred here back in February 2015.

“I wanted that pole so badly,” Reed said. “But being on the front row at Daytona is huge.”

Completing the top five were Brennan Poole, Daniel Hemric and 2016 pole-winner Ty Dillon. Dillon was the highest-performing Cup Series regular to qualify. Joey Logano was sixth, followed by rookie Tyler Reddick, Blake Koch, Kasey Kahne and Spencer Gallagher to round out the top 10.

Only three Cup drivers cracked that top 10 with a number of others struggling during the session. Austin Dillon was just 16th quick while Daniel Suarez, the reigning series champion who’s moving up to the Cup level in 2017 was a disappointing 21st. Aric Almirola was the worst of the Cup regulars to qualify; he’ll start 22nd.

David Starr, in 33rd grabbed the final spot on speed while Jeremy Clements and Mario Gosselin were among those drivers who had to rely on provisional starting spots. Mark Thompson, Stephen Leicht, Mike Harmon and Morgan Shepherd were the four drivers who did not qualify for Saturday’s Powershares QQQ 300.

POWERSHARES QQQ 300 XFINITY STARTING LINEUP

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